The top share index was higher at midday Friday, supported by strength in integrated oil stocks and in market heavyweight Vodafone ahead of key U.S. jobs data for December due at 1:30 p.m.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index was up 27.99 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,652.25 by 11:48 a.m., recovering after a 0.8 percent fall Thursday. Volumes were low at around 22 percent of the 90-day average.

There is no bigger number in global financial markets than the non-farm payrolls, so one would expect there to be a little nervousness ahead of that, Barclays Wealth market strategist Henk Potts said.

There is general optimism that a figure of 155,000 is expected and, after yesterday's ADP data, there is a suggestion that the figure could be even higher than that. But in general terms, I think investors should be rejoicing in the fact that the data from the United States has been slowly but surely improving over the course of the past few weeks, and I would expect that to continue over the course of 2012, he said.

Integrated oils provided the biggest support for the blue-chip index, led by BG Group up 1.4 percent, as crude prices extended recent gains on worries over a demand squeeze amid mounting tensions between Iran and the West.

Banks recovered after recent falls caused by fears over recapitalisation moves by European lenders exposed to the euro zone debt crisis, with part-state-owned Lloyds Banking Group ahead 2.4 percent.

Mobile operator Vodafone added over 6 points to FTSE 100, with the stock up 1.8 percent as Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to buy from neutral, anticipating U.S. venture Verizon Wireless would lift Vodafone's free cash flow above 10 billion pounds.


Terrestrial broadcaster ITV also stood out on the upside, ahead 2.3 percent as traders spotlighted the impact of an upgrade to overweight from equal-weight by Morgan Stanley in a 2012 European media review.

BSkyB shed 1.4 percent with Morgan Stanley downgrading its rating to equal-weight from overweight, citing fears of poor newsflow from the satellite broadcaster.

A cautious note on fund managers weighed on blue-chip Ashmore , down 2.2 percent, and mid caps Jupiter and F&C Asset Management , off 3.9 percent and 2.3 percent respectively, as Credit Suisse downgraded their ratings.

We remain particularly cautious on fund flows in Europe as banks which are major distributors of funds continue to focus on shoring up deposits, it said.

Hedge fund manager Man Group was the top FTSE 100 faller, dropping 5.5 percent, as both Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove cut their target prices.

Food retailers were the worst blue-chip performers on a sector basis, led by Morrison Supermarkets down 2.0 percent and Tesco off 1.1 percent, on caution ahead of trading updates from both next week.

J Sainsbury , which also issues a trading update next week, gained 1.0 percent, and luxury goods retailer Burberry , set for a trading update in 10 days, was the top FTSE 100 gainer, up 3.3 percent.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open for equities Friday ahead of the jobs report.