The FTSE 100 were higher on Thursday morning ahead of interest rate decisions from the British and European Union central banks and an EU summit, where it was hoped a deal will be struck to end the euro zone's two-year debt crisis.

The benchmark index <.FTSE> was up 12.10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,559.01 by 9:18 a.m., having fallen 0.4 percent on Wednesday. Miners <.FTNMX1770> led Britain's top share index higher, helped by a swathe of broker comment.

Traders said any moves were likely to be tentative until something official comes out of Europe, with the summit set to conclude on Friday. For the time being, the index was seen in the 5,500-5,600 range of the past six trading days.

Early gains echoed a rise overnight on Wall Street, which came on the back of talk of a coordinated G20 bailout fund for Europe, to be lent via the International Monetary Fund, later denied by an IMF spokesman and a G20 official.

What we are looking for at the summit is a commitment to further union and fiscal integration, which is what the euro zone needs to fix this problem, David Morrison, market strategist at GFT Global, said.

Morrison said if investors were long of equities heading into the summit he would advise hedging, such as a small short on the FTSE, just in case politicians disappointed again.

The FTSE has come a long way running on fumes so there is a potential for a nasty sell-off (if the markets do not get what they want).

As EU leaders sit down to discuss how to end the region's debt crisis and calm nervous markets, the Bank of England and European Central Bank could provide a lift to investors when they announce their latest interest rate decisions at 12:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m., respectively. Traders were looking for signs of the banks pumping more cheap money into the financial system.

Economists expected the Bank of England to keep interest rates at their record low of 0.50 percent and to wait before expanding its current asset purchase programme, which ends in February.

The ECB, however, was expected to cut rates and unveil a new package of bank aid, while investors will also look for any hint the central bank will intensify its bond buying support for the euro zone's struggling peripheral economies, setting the stage for Friday's critical euro zone summit.


Copper miners Kazakhmys and Antofagasta rose up to 2 percent, as Nomura lifted its respective ratings on the firms to neutral and buy.

Copper equities offer attractive value, with the sector trading at 0.8 times NPV and 4 times 2012E EV/EBITDA ... Furthermore, companies have the ability to reinvest in growth with the majority having unleveraged balance sheets.

Traders said Anglo American , up 1 percent, was being helped by an upgrade to overweight by Morgan Stanley, which said a management focus on shareholder value and the company's best-in-class free cash flow generation were not reflected in the share price.

As the risk trade appeared to be back on in early deals, banks <.FTNMX8350> climbed higher as a sector.

Trading in Standard Chartered <2888.HK> was choppy after the Asia-focused bank said income growth will be just below its 10 percent target this year as the euro zone debts crisis slows activity in its key Asian markets, adding to problems in India and Korea.

Citigroup said the sovereign and banking crisis in the euro zone will lead to a protracted recession.

The broker said it favoured emerging market plays in the developed world and is overweight in British equities due to its heavy weighting of commodity companies and remains neutral on Europe excluding Britain, given the current concerns.

However, it suspected the region will enjoy considerable outperformance if authorities take credible steps to address sovereign concerns.

There was more gloom for the retailers in the face of austere economic conditions in Europe, following weak results from German group Metro and British company Kesa over the past two sessions, as Tesco issued a lacklustre third quarter update.

Tesco shed 0.7 percent, after the world's no. 3 retailer posted what Seymour Pierce said was an uninspiring third-quarter trading update, with sales down for a fourth quarter in a row, prompting the broker to cut its rating for the stock to hold from buy.

Credit Suisse said economic conditions in Europe will likely lead to a difficult recession, although it was no longer factoring a global recession into its valuations and believed the stocks in its coverage were pricing in low growth.

Elsewhere, oil major BP shed 1.5 percent after the oil company was hit with five more safety citations from the U.S. government.

It also received the latest legal salvo from a major contractor, as it continues to deal with fallout from last year's massive oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

There were no major British economic data due to be released on Thursday.

(Editing by Dan Lalor)