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* FTSE 100 little changed by midday
* Trading volume 11 pct of 90-day average
* Miners and banks among top fallers
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Dec 29 Britain's top share index
steadied in thin holiday trading on Thursday after setting a
record closing high in the previous session, with miners coming
under pressure following a drop in prices of major industrial
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was flat in percentage
terms by midday after finishing on Wednesday at 7,106.08, its
highest ever close.
However, trading remained thin as many industry players were
away from their desks. Volumes on the FTSE 100 were just 11
percent of its 90-day daily average by 1210 GMT.
"Equities are on the back foot on the last full trading
session of the year, with investors taking profits and some risk
off the table," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at
"Miners and financials are in a tug of war with defensives."
The UK mining index fell 0.4 percent after
copper prices fell as markets fretted about the potential for a
liquidity crunch in top consumer China.
Shares in Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and
Antofagasta fell 0.5 to 0.8 percent. However, despite
some sell-off in the past sessions, the index has surged 100
percent this year to become the best sector performer.
Miners have helped the benchmark FTSE 100 to lead major
European stock indexes in 2016. The UK index is up nearly 14
percent this year, against a 1.4 percent fall seen by the
pan-European STOXX 600 index. Italy's FTSE MIB index
is down 10 percent, the worst performer in Europe
following concerns about the health of its banking sector.
UK banks also fell, with the sector index down
0.4 percent following further weakness in Italian banks after
the country's economy minister said the actual amount for the
government's recapitalisation of Monte dei Paschi
would depend on the lender's new industrial plan.
Shares in Barclays, Standard Chartered and
Lloyds were down around 1 percent.
However, gold miners were in demand after gold prices
rose to their highest level in two weeks. Fresnillo
rose 2.7 percent, the top gainer in the FTSE 100 index, while
Randgold Resources was up 1.7 percent.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Janet Lawrence)