LONDON Oct 4 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index rose early on Thursday, echoing gains overnight in Asia but sticking within its tight recent range as investors wait for further catalysts to drive the next leg of the equity rally.
By 0710 GMT, the UK's FTSE 100 was up 20.95 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,846.76, with the index stuck in a 150-point range since mid-September when the central bank stimulus-fueled summer rally ran out of steam.
Defensives - stocks which tend to outperform in a cautious economic environment - such as tobacco stocks, Vodafone , liked for its dividend, and pharmaceuticals were among the top gainers.
Tate and Lyle was the standout performer in early deals, up 4.2 percent, after Credit Suisse upgraded the sugar refiner to "outperform" from "neutral".
(Written by David Brett)
Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN STOCKS/OPEN