London equities posted modest gains on Friday boosted by a turnaround in mining stocks, dealers said.

The FTSE 100 index of leading shares ended the day 0.26 percent higher at 6,499.99 points.

CMC Markets UK analyst Michael Hewson said the mining stocks were boosted after rumours China might be looking to announce a new stimulus programme.

"The precious metals miners jumped the most with Randgold Resources and Fresnillo getting a turbo boost from a sharp rise in silver and gold prices overnight," he said.

Mining giant Anglo American shot up 3.48 percent to 1,547,5 pence and Fresnillo jumped 4.2 percent to 1,172 pence. Glencore Xstrata rose 2.17 percent to 308.35 pence.

Housebuilder Persimmon PLC was the star performer as it soared 8.30 percent to finish the session at 1188 pence.

Randgold was also in demand following the Chinese stimulus rumours and a sharp rise in the price of gold to shoot up 5.32 percent to 5150 pence.

The price of gold jumped to $1,369.25 an ounce on Friday at the London Bullion Market from $1,329.75 on Thursday.

BAE Systems was the biggest faller as the defence contractor slipped back 1.15 percent to close at 437 pence.

Fellow contractor Babcock International was also under heavy selling pressure and fell back 1.13 percent to 1142 pence.

Lloyds Banking Group remained the most-traded blue-chip with 134.43 million units changing hands, followed by Vodafone with 76.21 million.

On the currency markets, the pound lost ground against the greenback, trading at 1.5619 dollars at 5.13pm, down slightly from 1.5644 dollars at the same time on Thursday. Sterling held its ground against the single European currency and stood at 1.1722 euros, up from 1.1720 euros over the same period.

...,/.,