Rallying banks, commods haul FTSE 0.7 pct higher

* Banks rally after recent sell-off

* Oils, miners buoyed by stable commodity prices

* U.S. GDP data awaited

By Jon Hopkins

LONDON, Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top shares gained 0.7
percent in early trade on Friday, bouncing back after sharp
falls in the previous session, led by a rally from banks, oils,
and mining issues, as investors await U.S. GDP data.

By 0852 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index was up 35.90 points
at 5,181.64 having closed 1.4 percent lower on Thursday at its
lowest level since early Nov. 6, weighed down by mounting
concerns about the pace of global recovery.

“The market pendulum has swung back to positive after the
recent sell-off, but with uncertainties remaining over the
strength of the global recovery, any disappointment from the
U.S. GDP data could quickly be punished,” said Mic Mills, senior
trader at ETX Capital.

Banks led the FTSE 100 recovery after recent falls, with
Barclays (BARC.L: ) a top blue chip riser, up 2.7 percent, while
HSBC (HSBA.L: ), Standard Chartered (STAN.L: ) and Lloyds Banking
Group (LLOY.L: ) added 0.5 to 1.4 percent.

But Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) missed out on the rally,
slipping 0.2 percent. A Philadelphia-area real estate developer
has sued RBS’s Citizens Bank unit, claiming the bank had
jeopardized a $700 million project to redevelop a steel-plant
site on financing commitments. [ID:nN28191764]

Energy issues were supported by a steadying of the crude
price (CLc1: ) just below $78 a barrel, with BG Group (BG.L: ), BP
(BP.L: ), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) and Tullow Oil (TLW.L: )
gaining 0.5 to 1.3 percent.

Similarly, recently under pressure mining issues rallied
with steadier metal prices, helped as well by a positive sector
review from Goldman Sachs, which raised target prices across the
sector.

Gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS.L: ) was the best off, up
2.3 percent, while Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ), BHP
Billiton (BLT.L: ), Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ) and Lonmin (LMI.L: ) were up
0.7 to 2.0 percent.

Among the individual gainers, International Power (IPR.L: )
added 2.5 percent as rumours of corporate activity surrounding
the group failed to die down. The power generator recently held
abortive talks with France’s GDF Suez (GSZ.PA: ) on a possible
asset tie-up.

There were few blue chip fallers early on, but drug issues
were a drag led by AstraZeneca (AZN.L: ), off 0.4 percent as
brokers cut target prices for the firm following Thursday’s full
year results.

Peer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: ) shed 0.2 percent.

BAE Systems (BAES.L: ) was the biggest FTSE 100 faller, down
0.8 percent on uncertainties about the looming U.S. defence
budget.

U.S. GDP EYED

A Reuters survey predicted that U.S. GDP expanded at a 4.6
percent annual rate, up from 2.2 percent in the third quarter.

If the number, due at 1330 GMT, comes in much weaker than
expected, however, it could see a return to the jitters which
have sent the UK index down 4.9 percent in January, its worst
month since last February.

On the domestic front, house prices in Britain rose for a
sixth consecutive month in December, increasing by 1.0 percent
to bring their total rise since April’s low to 9.4 percent,
mortgage lender Halifax said on Thursday.

December’s rise followed a revised 1.3 percent gain the
previous month and means the average property ended the year 5.6
percent higher than they started it. [ID:nLDE6060IH]

Meanwhile, consumer confidence in Britain rose in January,
driven by improving optimism over the outlook for the economy
and personal finances, a survey by GfK NOP for the European
Commission showed on Friday. [ID:nL2635039]

Stock Investing

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Rallying banks, commods haul FTSE 0.7 pct higher