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Financials

FTSE up 0.5 pct; commodities firm, banks weaken

* Miners bounce back; Rio Tinto higher after results

* Banks fall back awaiting EU summit outcome

* Big batch of blue chip results prove mixed

LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index was 0.5 percent higher at midday on Thursday, supported by commodities while banks fell back ahead of a summit that could lay out a rescue plan for debt-stricken Greece.

At 1138 GMT the FTSE 100 index .FTSE was 23.90 points higher at 5,155.89, but had drifted back from an early session peak of 5,201.82.

“Market uncertainty could continue for a little while longer with the finer details of the plan not due to be discussed by (EU) ministers until next week,” said Nick Serf, market analyst at City Index.

“Although investors can see some light at the end of the tunnel price action remains volatile, with rumour and counter-rumour swirling around the market.”

Miners provided the main prop for the FTSE 100 index, recovering from a late slide on Wednesday as metal prices bounced back after data showed a surge in employment in Australia and stronger-than-expected bank lending in China.

Fresnillo FRES.L, Xstrata XTA.L, Vedanta Resources VED.L, Anglo American AAL.L, and Antofagasta ANTO.L gained 2.1 to 2.6 percent.

Rio Tinto RIO.L, up 2.5 percent, also benefited from reporting above-forecast second-half profits of $3.73 billion, beating analysts' forecasts of around $3.08 billion. [ID:nRIO]

BHP Billiton BLT.L took on 2.3 percent. The global miner notified Japanese steelmakers that it hopes to set prices for coking coal every quarter instead of once a year, starting in fiscal 2010, the Nikkei business daily reported. [ID:nSGE6190MR]

Oil majors rebounded after Wednesday's falls as crude CLc1 prices moved back above $75 a barrel, with BP BP.L, BG Group BG.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L up 1.0 to 1.5 percent.

But banks fell back ahead of the summit at which European Union leaders will lay the groundwork for a financial rescue of Greece later in the day.

Any support is likely to require a big commitment from Athens on getting its economy in order. [ID:nLDE61927A]

Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L, Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L, Barclays BARC.L, and Standard Chartered STAN.L shed 0.5 to 3.2 percent. But HSBC HSBA.L held firm, up 0.5 percent.

Insurers stayed higher led by Aviva AV.L, up 1.9 percent as hopes lingered of a possible break-up bid for the firm.

Resolution RSL.L, seen as a likely bidder for Aviva in tandem with Prudential PRU.L, added 0.4 percent after issuing a fourth-quarter new business update and saying the UK life industry continues to demonstrate the need for consolidation. [ID:nLDE61A08U]

RESULTS ROULETTE

A big batch of results also stirred the market.

Engines maker Rolls-Royce RR.L took over the top spot in the FTSE 100 index, up 6.2 percent after it posted a 4 percent rise in full-year profit and said its 2010 performance would be similar to 2009. [ID:nLDE61A0A3]

Smith & Nephew SN.L gained 4.1 percent after Europe's leading maker of replacement hips and knees met expectations with a 22 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings, and said its markets had stabilised in the second half. [ID:nLDE61A06U]

But BT Group BT.L was the top blue chip faller, down 8.4 percent after the telecom carrier's third-quarter results came in towards the upper end of forecasts but were overshadowed by its pension liabilities. [ID:nLDE6190M3]

Drinks firm Diageo DGE.L shed 3.3 percent as the maker of Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer posted underlying earnings for the half year to end-December of 44.2 pence a share, below a consensus figure of 46.2 pence. [ID:nLDE6192L6]

With no significant UK data released on Thursday, investors were looking to U.S. initial jobless data, released at 1330 GMT for more guidance on how fast the global economy is recovering from recession. (Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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