FTSE down, weak banks outpace commodity strength

* FTSE down 0.2 percent

* Miners, energy stocks gains Bernanke hints at QE3

* Banks wane on euro zone debt worries

By David Brett

LONDON, Dec 6 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top shares were lower on
Monday, as weakness in banks sparked by euro zone debt worries
outpaced strength in commodities following weekend comments by
Ben Bernanke, which boosted hopes of more quantitative easing.

By 0903 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was down 13.11 points at
5,732.21, having ended down 0.4 percent at 5,745.32 on Friday
after downbeat U.S. non farm payroll figures in the U.S..

Responding to the disappointing jobs data, U.S. Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the ’60 minutes’ television
programme at the weekend that the central bank could end up
buying more than the $600 billion in U.S. government bonds it
has committed to purchase if the economy failed to respond or
unemployment stayed too high.

“Bernanke’s comments suggest that QE3 is a possibility,”
Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

“We’re still switching between risk on and risk off with
investors itching to take profits as soon as the market gains
some ground.”

Global miner Xstrata (XTA.L: ) rose 2.3 percent on newspaper
reports Glencore [GLEN.UL], the world’s biggest commodity trader
which holds a stake of nearly 35 percent in Xstrata, is
preparing for a 6.3 billion pound ($9.94 billion) London Stock
Exchange debut as early as April next year.

Platinum processor Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L: ) added 0.9
percent as Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to “buy” from
“neutral”, saying it is benefiting from higher platinum prices.

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ) was down 0.1
percent after it made a $3.5 billion bid approach for
Africa-focused Riversdale Mining (RIV.AX: ). [ID:nL3E6N600F]

On the second line, British bank note printer De La Rue Plc
(DLAR.L: ) soared 23 percent after confirming it had received a
bid approach from an unnamed party.

French group Oberthur Technologies [FCOFDO.UL] is the
bidder, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
[ID:nWLA9962]

Pub owner Punch Taverns PLC (PUB.L: ) rose 7.4 percent on Mail
on Sunday reports of bid interest from private equity group CVC.

BANKS WOBBLE

Banks (.FTNMX8350: ) were lower after Moody’s Investors
Service cut Hungary’s credit rating on Monday. [ID:nLDE6B50BT]

Investors will also keep an eye on a meeting of euro zone
finance ministers who will face pressure to increase the size of
a 750 billion euro ($1,006 billion) safety net for crisis-hit
members in order to halt contagion in the single currency bloc.
[ID:nLDE6B40EJ]

Tesco (TSCO.L: ) slipped 2.3 percent after UBS cut its rating
on the world’s No.3 retailer to “neutral” from “buy”.

Cobham (COB.L: ) fell 2.5 percent with traders citing a
downgrade by BofA Merrill Lynch on the aerospace electronics
group.

Back on the upside, Vodafone (VOD.L: ), up 0.9 percent, is
close to selling its 44 percent stake in mobile phone operator
SFR to France’s Vivendi (VIV.PA: ), paving the way for Vodafone to
buy back 5 billion pounds in its own shares in 2011, a UK
newspaper said on Sunday. [ID:nLDE6B407X]

No important British data will be released on Monday.
($1=.6338 Pound)
(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

FTSE down, weak banks outpace commodity strength