Miners led the top share index higher early on Thursday, as a string of companies issued robust updates, while commodities were lifted as the U.S. Federal Reserve showed it was ready to do what it takes to boost economic recovery.

London's blue chip index <.FTSE> rose 29.61 points, or 0.5 percent to 5,752.61 by 9:13 a.m. The early gains halted 2 days of falls as the FTSE 100 continues to trade in its recent range between 5,700 and 5,800.

The mining sector <.FTNMX1770>, up 2.5 percent, was in focus as Anglo American , Lonmin , Petropavlovsk
and Kazakhmys all reported output figures either in line with or better than expectations.

The miners also gained in tandem with commodity prices, which rose after the Fed said it would likely keep interest rates lower for much longer than expected and hinted it may consider further quantitative easing in order to boost the sluggish economic recovery, which is being threatened by Europe's debt crisis.

It sounds like the Fed are not expecting the recent good economic data to last, said David Morrison, market strategist at GFT Global.

This market's been pushing up on hopes of further stimulus from the Fed, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England and it looks like its going to get it.

On Wednesday, data revealed Britain's economy may have entered a mild recession in the last three months of 2011, raising the prospect of more stimulus for the UK's central bank in February.

Lower interest rates for longer are of benefit to equities which can offer higher returns in comparison, with dividends on the FTSE 100, for instance, yielding about 4 percent, while interest rates on cash are around 0.5 percent and the yield on UK gilts close to 2 percent.

Gold equities Fresnillo and Randgold rose 2.6 and 3.2 percent, respectively, as investors used the stocks as an equity play on the yellow metal, which jumped after the announcement by the Fed weakened the dollar.

But earnings will stay under pressure as global growth remains limp. The IMF cut global growth forecasts as recently as Tuesday.

HSBC said earnings risks in the European chemicals sector are on the downside and shares could come under pressure after their recent rally, but for investors looking for exposure in the sector it recommended Johnson Matthey among its top picks.

Johnson Matthey rose 2.5 percent as HSBC also raised its target price on the firm to 2,375 pence from 2,250 pence and kept its overweight stance.

There was good news for the airlines, which had been suffering at the hands of the cash-strapped consumers hurt by governments' austerity measures, as low-cost carrier easyJet , up 7.5 percent, posted a 16.7 percent rise in first-quarter revenue.

Nomura said a combination of more realistic forecast assumptions, attractive valuation and lowering capacity growth plans will help the sector.

British Airways owner International Airlines rose 2.9 percent.

On the downside, BSkyB was the standout faller, down 1.0 percent, as Barclays Capital downgraded the satellite broadcaster to equalweight from overweight as it sees temporary headwinds that should prevent the stock from outperforming in the coming months.

The broker said there was uncertainty around the Premiere League rights auction, it's sustainable growth profile, fibre strategy and the impact of new entrants (Netflix, Apple's iTV and YouView).

No major data is due in the UK on Thursday

(Written by David Brett; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)