Britain's top share index was lower at midday on Friday, with gains in defensive pharmaceutical stocks and food producers outweighed by weakness in banks and energy stocks.

By 1158 GMT, the FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 0.3 percent or 15.28 points at 5252.48 after closing down 1.4 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day fall for three weeks and third daily loss in a row.

But the index is still up 18.4 percent this year and 55 percent higher since touching a six-year trough in March.

The market ran up on the basis of more encouraging economic data, now its a matter of waiting to see if there's follow through or if there's a lag in momentum, said Tim Rees, fund manager at Insight Investment.

Banks were down as risk appetite remained fragile. Europe's largest bank HSBC (HSBA.L) gained 0.7 percent, while Barclays (BARC.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland fell 0.2-2.2 percent.

Miners were mostly weaker, tracking softer metal prices. Fresnillo (FRES.L), Rio Tinto (RIO.L), Antofagasta (ANTO.L), Anglo American (AAL.L) and Vedanta Resources (VED.L) fell 0.3-2.1 percent.

Energy issues fell, weighed by slightly lower crude CLc1. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), and BP (BP.L) were both down 0.6 percent.

BG Group (BG.L) held steady as UBS upped its target price to 1,120 pence from 1,060 pence.

Thomas Cook (TCG.L) and TUI Travel (TT.L) shed 5.8 percent and 5.4 percent respectively, the two top fallers on the FTSE 100 .FTSE after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating for the travel companies on a weak operating environment.

DEFENSIVES FIRMER

SABMiller (SAB.L) extended Thursday's gain, rising 0.6 percent as a raft of brokers upgraded their target price for the world's No. 2 brewer, after the company reported its first-half results in the previous session. Diageo Plc (DGE.L), the world's biggest spirits group, added 0.3 percent.

Other defensive stocks were also in favour with tobacco company Imperial Tobacco (IMT.L) up 0.4 percent.

Pharmaceuticals were mostly higher, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) and Shire (SHP.L) were up 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, but AstraZeneca (AZN.L) slipped 0.2 percent.

Cable & Wireless (CW.L) was up 2.4 percent after JPMorgan upgraded the stock to 'overweight' from 'neutral' and increased its target price.

In the United States, data due to be released include the Economic Cycle Research Institute's Weekly Leading Index, a measure of future U.S. growth, due at 1530 GMT.