May 30, 2013 / 8:48 AM / in 4 years

Miners help Britain's FTSE edge up in choppy trade

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index edged up on Thursday, helped by a rebound in gold miners, but sentiment remained jittery as investors fretted about a rollback of U.S. monetary stimulus.

Precious metal miners Randgold, Polymetal and Fresnillo both rose between 2.6 percent as gold regained strength - to some extent on safe haven flows - after a recent slide.

“Plays such as Randgold and Polyus Gold all got decimated recently,” a trader in London said. “Worth having a look again.”

Polyus Gold and Randgold fell around 6 and 12 percent between early April and May 28.

Thursday’s rebound helped the FTSE 100 rise 11.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,639.19 points at 0826 GMT, having traded as low as 6611 in early trade.

The FTSE has fallen around 3.7 percent from a 13-year high hit last week on talk the U.S. Federal Reserve may taper a quantitative asset-purchase programme that has helped equities rally since late 2012 despite a recession in Europe.

Any better-than-expected data from the United States is likely to be seen by the market as a reason for the Fed to reduce QE earlier rather than later.

The second reading of U.S. GDP figures for the first quarter, due to be published at 1230 GMT, was expected to confirm the world’s largest economy grew by 2.5 percent year on year.

“If we get a forecast-beating reading, 2.7 or 2.9 percent, that could be the first time good news is bad news in the short term for the market,” Joshua Raymond, a strategist at City Index, said.

“Our clients have turned a little bit more bearish recently. The recent rally from April’s low has been quite aggressive and very sharp. It might need a natural correction to take 5 percent off the market to entice buyers to come back in.”

A scaling back of QE would be especially negative for European stocks at a time when the region’s economy shrinks and the outlook for profits worsens.

Poor prospects for the UK retail sector led JP Morgan to downgrade the country’s largest super market chain, Tesco , to “neutral” from “buy”, sending the shares down 1.4 percent in brisk volume. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

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