A woman walks past a Standard Chartered bank in London.

London - Britain's benchmark FTSE equity index edged up on Thursday, helped by firmer mining stocks, although a slump in Barclays share price prevented bigger gains.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which had fallen to a 2-month closing low on Wednesday, was up by 0.1 percent, or 7.69 points, at 6,741.31 points by 09:43 SA time.

Gains in mining stocks such as Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton added the most points to the FTSE 100 as the price of copper rose towards a 4-month peak.

However, Barclays slumped by 5.4 percent after the New York Attorney General filed a securities fraud lawsuit against the bank for giving an unfair edge to its US high-frequency trading clients.

“The problem with Barclays is that they're constantly getting battered by regulators,” Beaufort Securities sales trader Basil Petrides said.

Most traders and investors expect the FTSE 100 to hit a record high of 7,000 points later in 2014, on expectations of a further strengthening in the British economy, better corporate results and more corporate takeover activity.

The index has failed to break through the 6,900 point barrier so far this year.

“It does not look as if the FTSE's rebound today will be a strong one,” Hantec Markets analyst Richard Perry said. - Reuters