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LONDON: The FTSE 100 held steady on Friday with investor focus squarely on US jobs data for clues on the pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes, while mining stocks jumped on the back of firmer copper prices.

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 was flat, but on track for a near 0.7% rise in the first week of the year.

The latest US jobs report is of added significance after minutes from the Fed’s December meeting signalled faster-than-expected rate hikes, triggering a global sell-off in equity markets.

UK’s benchmark index this week outperformed its European peers and the domestically focussed midcap index, with both the STOXX 600 and FTSE 250 on course to post losses in the first week of the year.

“The FTSE 100 has underperformed over the past two years, so it’s less susceptible to the big sell-off seen in some of the more highly valued areas of the market this week,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.

“The benchmark index is also undervalued and as such there is potential for more upside than there is on S&P or STOXX.”

Industrial metal miners added 1.8%, capping losses on the blue-chip index, supported by a recovery in copper prices.

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