Britain's top share index looked set to end the month crawling into positive territory by midday on Friday as U.S. data from the previous session helped lift banks, offsetting weak commodities.

At 1158 GMT, the FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 6.82 points or 0.1 percent at 5,144.54, having risen 1.1 percent the previous session, lifted by the U.S. growth data.

The U.S. on Thursday posted a 3.5 percent rise in gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter, signalling the country's exit from the recession.

The market is extraordinarily sensitive to economic data... and after the (U.S. GDP) data people are very reluctantly recognising that there is a bit of growth in the world economy, said Steven Bell, director at hedge fund GLC.

The UK benchmark index is up 49 percent since hitting a low in March. After three straight months of hefty gains from July to September the index looks set to edge in to positive territory for the month of October.

However, as the month drew to a close, trading was thin as investors stood on the sideline with volumes well below the average for the last 90 trading days.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) led banks higher, up 4.6 percent, benefiting from plans to raise capital as an alternative to a government-backed scheme to insure bad debts, prompting Credit Suisse and Exane BNP Paribas to up their ratings. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), also thought to be looking at plans to reduce its exposure to the government's asset protection scheme, was up 0.8 percent while Barclays (BARC.L), HSBC (HSBA.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) were up 0.1 to 1.8 percent.

Elsewhere among financials, hedge fund Man Group (EMG.L) was the top blue-chip gainer, up 5.2 percent, with analysts saying it was benefiting from its exposure to the U.S. capital markets after the strong U.S. data on Thursday.

Helping to support positive sentiment in the market, British house prices rose for a sixth month running in October to register the first annual gain since early 2008, the Nationwide Building Society said.

British consumer confidence also rose in October, at its highest level since January 2008, after improvements in the financial situations of households, a monthly survey by GfK NOP showed. 

WPP group (WPP.L) rose 4.56 percent after the advertising firm posted a smaller-than-expected fall in third-quarter like-for-like revenue and said it would improve profitability in the second half. 


Commodity stocks were weaker, cancelling out most of the gains, with miners retreating after early gains as metal price slipped.

Among miners, Anglo American (AAL.L), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L), Xstrata (XTA.L) and Vedanta Resources (VED.L) fell between 0.2 and 2.2 percent.

However, Rio Tinto (RIO.L) added 0.4 percent after saying it planned to double its capital expenditure next year to at least $5 billion and saw signs of economic recovery. 

Energy majors took the most points off the index with crude prices CLc1 falling below $80 a barrel after a 3 percent jump in the previous session. BG Group (BG.L), BP (BP)L> and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) shed 0.4 to 0.7 percent.

Later in the session, focus will turn to a slew of economic data from the United States, including the Federal Reserve's favoured measure of inflation.

September personal income and consumption numbers are due at 1230 GMT and the core PCE price index is seen rising 0.2 percent, after a 0.1 percent rise in August.

Also set for release later in the session are the New York October ISM index, Chicago October PMI report, and the final reading for the October University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.