Britain's leading shares nudged higher on Thursday on the back of gains among top miners on China metals demand expectations, although a mixed batch of corporate earnings dampened sentiment.
Investors showed little reaction to data showing Britain pulled out of recession in the third quarter, with its strongest quarterly GDP growth in five years, as commentators noted the impact of one-off factors.
"We knew the Olympics in London would give a boost to these growth numbers, so the fourth quarter GDP figure, or even the first two quarters of next year will provide a better idea of the heath of the UK economy. We would also be cautious of future revisions and the comparatives ahead, so plenty of hurdles remain", said James Hughes, Chief Market Analyst at Alpari (UK).
Gains by heavyweight miners <.FTNMX1770> underpinned strength in the blue chips, with the sector tracking a firmer copper price after China's industry ministry said the top metals consumer's factory output should grow faster in the last three months of 2012.
"The resources sector as a whole is in good form with generally rising base metals prices lending support here," said Fawad Razaqzada, Market Strategist at GFT Markets.
Mexican silver miner Fresnillo
"We see Fresnillo setting the pace as the outright best-quality stock in UK precious metals but it also has the outright most-expensive rating," Citigroup said in a note.
The bank said, overall, it remained wary of the excessive valuations of the larger-cap high-quality miners as the effect of the third round of bond-buying quantitative easing by the central banks fades.
At 1102 GMT, the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index was up 7.32 points, or 0.3 percent at 5,822.10 points, having slipped to a two-week low in the previous session before closing 0.1 percent higher.
U.S. stock index futures <.SPc1> <.DJc1> pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, after slipping a day earlier, although investors will eye results from some major companies on Thursday, including Apple
The UK corporate earnings picture remained mixed on Thursday.
Consumer products giant Unilever
WPP was the most traded blue chip stock, with volume at 120 percent of its 90-day daily average around mid-session, while volume for the FTSE 100 index was 24.6 percent of its average.
(Reporting by Jon Hopkins; editing by Ron Askew)