LONDON April 13 (Reuters) - * The heavily commodity-weighted Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen down as much as 4 points, or 0.1 percent on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, halting a two-day rally as investors digest a mixed reading of China’s overnight GDP. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Britain’s top share index hit a one-week closing high on Thursday, finishing 75.72 points, or 1.3 percent, higher at 5,710.46 points, as mining stocks jumped on market talk that China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, could report strong economic growth numbers.
* Data, however, showed China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three years in the quarter, with a weaker-than-expected reading fuelling worries that a five-quarter long slide has not bottomed and that more policy action would be needed to halt it.
The annual rate of GDP growth in the first quarter slowed to 8.1 percent from 8.9 percent in the previous three months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, against the 8.3 percent consensus forecast of economists polled by Reuters.
* British industrial and construction output figures are due out at 0830 GMT. Having suffered a shock fall in January, raising the risk the economy could slide back into recession at a time when rising oil prices are posing a dilemma for policymakers, investors will be looking for more positive reading.
Core UK PPI FOR March is forecast for a rise of 0.2 percent from 0.5 percent. Year-on-year it is forecast to rise by 2.7 percent from 3.0 percent.
* There’s inflation data out in the U.S. where Labor Dept releases the March Consumer Price Index (CPI) due out at 1230 GMT.
Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.3 percent rise compared with a 0.4 percent increase in February. Excluding volatile food and energy items, CPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent compared with a 0.1 percent rise in February.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers release preliminary April consumer sentiment index is due out at 1355 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 76.2, a repeat of the final March reading.
* After the FTSE closing bell, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on “Reflections on the Crisis and the Policy Response” before the Russell Sage Foundation and The Century Foundation Conference on “Rethinking Finance.”
* Glencore announced its merger timing update with Xstrata and said it is currently engaged in constructive discussions with regulatory authorities.
* Premier Oil PLC said its Biawak Besar-1x exploration well in Indonesia will be plugged and abandoned, while its Benteng-1 well currently drilling, results expected in June.
* Falkland Oil And Gas Ltd reported overall losses for the year were $6.6 million, widening from $3.7 million in 2010. Its cash position at the end of March 2012 was approximately $184 million, while plans for the 2012 drilling operation are on track.
* Norcon reported full-year profit before tax dipped to $5.4 million, from $6.7 million in 2010, in a resilient year.
* Daisy Group PLC announces the acquisition of Worldwide Group holdings limited for an initial cash consideration of 28 million pounds.
* Lloyds Banking Group : The UK lender is dumping more than half of its fund managers, prompting renewed speculation that the bank is exploring plans to sell its Scottish Widows insurance division, according to the Times.
* The private equity firm Terra Firma Capital is one of the front runners to invest in Britain’s largest care home business in what would be one of the its most significant deals since the firm’s ill-fated acquisition of music giant EMI, according to the Telegraph.
* Britain’s struggling commercial property market is being smothered by the “substantial” costs associated with controversial swaps sold by some of the UK’s biggest banks, according to the Telegraph.
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