* Traders cite doubts over fresh Fed quantitative easing
* Mining stocks dominate FTSE 100 leaderboard
* FTSE 100 ends 4-day losing streak
LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Britain's benchmark share index
rose on Friday as traders bought mining stocks which had fallen
sharply in previous sessions, although worries that central
banks may inch away from launching new stimulus for the economy
favoured more defensive equity sectors.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up by 0.7 percent,
or 39 points, at 5,758.45 points, ending a four-day losing
streak that had seen the index fall by around 6 percent.
Mining stocks dominated the leaderboard, with Glencore
and Kazakhmys rising by 2.9 and 3.1 percent
Shares in Glencore's planned merger partner Xstrata
also rose 2 percent, after both stocks had fallen 3 and 2.5
percent respectively on Thursday on the back of objections from
some investors to the terms of their merger deal.
Investors picked up mining stocks in case a speech by U.S.
Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke on Friday gives out more
signals of measures to help the economy, such as quantitative
easing, which would boost economically-sensitive shares such as
"People are bottom fishing around the miners. They are
high-beta stocks, which means that if the market goes higher,
they will go higher first," said JN Financial senior trader
However, Redmond said he did not expect any fresh monetary
steps to stimulate growth in the immediate future, from either
the Fed or the European Central Bank (ECB), which has a series
of meetings in September to deal with the euro zone debt crisis.
TOO EARLY TO BUY CYCLICAL STOCKS
Brown Shipley fund manager John Smith also said he did not
expect an immediate launch of new action to fight the global
economic slowdown, leading him to favour more "defensive" equity
sectors such as healthcare or food companies.
Smith favoured stocks such as drinks group Diageo,
healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline, consumer goods group
Unilever and utility National Grid over the
miners at present.
"We are of the opinion that there will be some more QE
(quantitative easing) but we don't see it in the short term.
We've sat on the sidelines. It's a little bit too early to be
aggressively buying cyclical stocks such as the miners," he
Slightly stronger than expected U.S. economic data over the
past two weeks has helped cool expectations of fresh
quantitative easing by the Fed in the near term.
Around 44 percent of investors in a Reuters poll published
on Thursday expected the central bank to embark on a third round
of bond purchases by end-2012, down from 70 percent in a similar
poll last month.
The FTSE 100 could move around 1.5 percent in either
direction depending on how Bernanke's speech pans out, added
James A. Hyerczyk, an analyst at Autochartist.
(additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; editing by Patrick