ftse up on us sentiment and commodity prices

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    LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Britain's leading shares edged
    higher early on Friday as investors soaked up the implications
    of the Bank of England's rate cut in the previous session to
    track gains in the U.S. and Asia.

    At 0754 GMT the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up 33.7 points, or 0.6
    percent at 5,998.8 on a very light day for economic and
    corporate news.

    "The knee-jerk this morning is partly based on a slightly
    stronger close in the U.S. - we haven't got a big theme today.
    The rate cut yesterday was a given," said Richard Cunningham,
    analyst at City Index Advisory.

    The UK's central bank cut interest rates by a quarter of a
    percentage point to 5.0 percent, a move welcomed by many market
    participants.

    "We suspect this is a rally that you fade into and be
    prepared for another downward leg. The general picture is one
    great big choppy price channel for these indexes which is 10
    percent wide," Cunningham said.

    "While they might flirt with the top and bottom side of
    these levels in the next two or three months, I'd expect that
    we're going to have a long wide trading channel for the next few
    months.".

    Among individual companies, British engineering project
    manager Amec advanced 3.9 percent after UBS upgraded
    the stock to "buy" from "neutral" with a 875 pence price target.

    Positive broker comment from Credit Suisse helped push ITV
    shares 3.1 higher.

    On the economic front, University of Michigan consumer
    sentiment data for economic indicators at 1355 GMT and results
    from General Electric in the U.S. may provide additional
    market direction.

    Finance chiefs from rich nations are also meeting to bless
    proposals for tightening scrutiny of global banking practices
    and to press the private sector to step up its efforts to settle
    financial markets.



    COMMODITIES UP

    In commodities, mining stocks boosted the upside as base
    metal prices firmed. BHP Billiton , Rio Tinto and
    Anglo American added between 0.7 and 1.1 percent.

    U.S. crude held around $110 a barrel, as a rebound in
    the dollar against the euro and Saudi Arabia's comment that
    markets were well supplied led investors to reduce positions,
    but firm Chinese demand lent support.

    BP climbed 1.6 percent and rival Shell added
    1.2 percent. BP was also buoyed by a JPMorgan upgrade to
    "overweight" from "neutral" with a price target rise to 625
    pence from 600 pence.

    British Energy rose 0.8 percent after a source close
    to the matter said Electricite de France may join the
    11 billion pound ($22 billion) bid battle for the nuclear power
    firm, but will not overpay.

    ING also raised its price target on the power company to 800
    pence from 660 pence with a "hold" rating.

    Among the few companies reporting, Cadbury Schweppes
    was the standout, down 1.6 percent after it said its
    sweets business had seen a strong start to the year. Traders
    expressed concern over its 2008 outlook. [ID:nWLB9672]

    "Cadbury's confectionery ops might attract predatory
    interest, but certainly not right now," said one analyst. "The
    business is highly indebted, shareholders have lost out through
    the demerger (and) on the cash they thought they might get
    returned to them."

    Banks also headed south, as persistent writedown worries and
    negative sentiment weighed. Royal Bank of Scotland ,
    Barclays and Lloyds TSB dipped between 0.3 and
    0.8 percent.
 
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