Commods help FTSE up 0.7%; Lloyds off on results

* Miners, oils rally; commodity prices rebound

* Lloyds top faller after results

* Fourth-quarter UK GDP revised up to 0.3 percent.

By David Brett

LONDON, Feb 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s leading shares climbed
0.7 percent by midday on Friday as investors bought on the back
of the previous session’s falls, with commodity issues
rebounding strongly, while Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) fell
after its full-year results disappointed.

By 1147 GMT, the FTSE 100 index was 34.18 points higher at
5,312.40, having closed down 1.2 percent on Thursday.

London’s gains echoed a late rally from Wall Street on
Thursday, which recovered much of its early sharp losses struck
following weaker than expected jobless data, with concerns over
Greece’s debt situation ebbing. The recovery is expected to
continue for U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) on Friday as well.

“What yesterday’s spike higher in jobless claims and the
market reaction shows is just how much sensitivity there is
towards the U.S. labour market by investors…,” said Joshua
Raymond, market strategist at City Index.

“This could play a role in how the market progresses next
week in the runup towards the nonfarm payrolls next Friday.”

Commodity stocks, the biggest fallers on Thursday, were the
main beneficiaries as metal and crude (CLc1: ) prices rallied.

Miners Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ), BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ), Kazakhmys
(KAZ.L: ) and Lonmin (LMI.L: ) added 1.7 to 2.5 percent.

Energy stocks BG Group (BG.L: ), BP (BP.L: ) and Royal Dutch
Shell (RDSa.L: ) rose 0.5 to 1 percent.

Drugmakers were in demand. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: ) and
AstraZeneca (AZN.L: ) gained 0.8 and 2.4 percent respectively, as
Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating for both stocks.

Support services firm Serco (SRP.L: ) was the top blue chip
gainer, up 6.9 percent after the firm posted a 30 percent rise
in full-year profit, driven by multiple contract wins.

On the second line, property website Rightmove (RMV.L: ) rose
8.3 percent as it said it was confident for the future after
beating full-year forecasts for operating profits, boosted by
rising demand from advertisers. [ID:nLDE61O1XS]


Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) was the top FTSE faller, down
5.6 percent after Britain’s largest retail bank unveiled a 6.3
billion pounds ($9.66 billion) loss in 2009, as it lost 24
billion pounds on loans that soured, mostly from old HBOS
assets. [ID:nLDE61O2G9]

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ), which jumped after reporting
results on Thursday, was also dragged lower, down 3 percent.

Other, non-state-backed banks were higher with Barclays
(BARC.L: ) and global heavyweight HSBC (HSBA.L: ), which reports
full-year earnings on Monday, up 0.5 and 1 percent respectively.

On the macro economic front, Britain’s economic growth in
the fourth quarter was revised up more than expected after new
figures showed the service sector grew five times faster than
initially estimated. [ID:nONS004824]

Investor focus will turn this afternoon to the U.S., where
preliminary fourth-quarter GDP is due at 1330 GMT, with a 5.7
percent rise predicted, unchanged from the previous reading.

The February Chicago PMI and New York ISM reports, the final
reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment
survey, and January U.S. existing home sale numbers will also be
released in the final session of the month.

Investing Basics

Commods help FTSE up 0.7%; Lloyds off on results