April 10, 2017 / 9:14 AM / 8 months ago

Britain's FTSE bobs along steadily, BHP Billiton bounces

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* FTSE 100 edges up 0.1 pct

* BHP gains after hedge fund proposal

* Though precious metals miners drop

By Kit Rees

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - London-listed shares edged higher on Monday as a rise in BHP Billiton led gains among miners, although gold-linked resource stocks fell.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent at 7,354.02 points by 0859 GMT, keeping in step with a broadly flat European market.

Gains among base metal miners provided support, as shares in BHP Billiton jumped 5 percent after hedge fund Elliott Advisors sent a letter to the miner proposing a plan to unlock shareholder value.

The hedge fund’s plan involved scrapping the miner’s London Stock Exchange listing, demerging its U.S. oil arm and revising its capital return policy.

“Being based in Australia, you’ve got a lot of resources in the country itself, you’ve got access to Asia which is a great consumer of those kinds of resources, but then the capital, historically, has always come from London - so that’s essentially why you’ve got two listings,” said Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index.

“I don’t really see how much value would be unlocked by such a drastic action so quickly.”

Fellow miners Rio Tinto and Anglo American also gained around 1.4 percent.

Precious metals miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were among the biggest fallers, however, down 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent respectively as the price of gold inched lower, hampered by a stronger dollar. Mid cap Centamin also fell 3.8 percent.

Shares in Barclays reversed earlier losses to trade 0.4 percent higher after the bank said that British regulators were investigating its Chief Executive Jes Staley and the bank itself over the handling of a whistleblowing incident.

The investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority relates to an attempt by Staley last year to identify the author of a letter that was treated by Barclays as a whistleblowing incident, Barclays said in a statement.

“While Mr Staley’s reputation has undoubtedly taken a serious knock, we believe that it remains in the best interests of shareholders to keep him in the post of CEO and hence we recommend that they follow the board’s direction and vote in favour of his reappointment at the AGM in May,” Gary Greenwood, analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said in a note.

Outside of the blue chips, shares in UK Real Estate Investment Trust Shaftesbury rose 4.6 percent on a media report of a Hong Kong-based billionaire eyeing a bid for the company.

Reporting by Kit Rees

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