* Commodity stocks, banks gain after US jobs data surprise
* BAE Systems wanes on EADS merger concerns
By David Brett
LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - UK equities rallied on Friday as better than expected employment figures in the United States, the world's biggest economy, spurred buying of commodity stocks and banks.
The U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly tumbled to 7.8 percent, the lowest rate in almost four years, from more than 8 percent previously, the non-farm payrolls data showed.
The data also included huge upward revisions to jobs data for August and July. London's blue chip index closed up 43.24 points, or 0.7 percent, at 5871.02.
"To see the rate of unemployment fall so much was a big surprise," said Oliver Wallin, investment director at Octopus Investment.
"The U.S. is doing its bit towards global growth. Any kind of recovery story is going to be well received ... There are encouraging signs and there is definitely a more positive mood. But there is still plenty to be concerned about."
Indeed, the positive impetus from the data was not sufficient to push the FTSE 100 out of the 200-point range established since markets peaked in early September after a summer rally fueled by central bank stimulus.
Investors warned longer term the uptick in U.S. employment could be a negative for the market in the longer term, if it leads to a curtailment of the U.S. Federal Reserve's quantitative easing stimulus programme.
"This could dampen the QE3 programme ... if the trend continues, it may not be so good for markets if they start to see that fiscal stimulus is withdrawn," Wallin said.
For the time being investors turned to stocks that tend to move further than the benchmark and are thus best to own in a strong bull market and worst to own in a bear market - such as banks
London-listed miners also rose, with a sector index
up 1 percent. Mining stocks have underperformed in 2012, down 7.6 percent compared with a 4.6 percent rise for the FTSE 100, hampered by growth concerns and doubts over demand for raw materials, so the data from the U.S. was a positive signal in the short-term for the sector.
Integrated oils , which have also lagged this year, climbed 0.5 percent as the oil price continued to recover.
Oil services firm John Wood Group
added 2.8 percent after the company said it was confident of meeting full-year expectations in a trading update.
On the downside, defence firm BAE Systems
fell 1.6 percent after German newspaper Spiegel reported online that its merger with French peers EADS
had hit the buffers.
EADS quickly denied the report that its proposed $45 billion merger deal with BAE Systems had collapsed.
Retailers took a knock with Tesco
, down 0.8 percent and the top faller on the index. Analysts have been cutting their forecasts on Britain's biggest retailer following poor first-half results on Wednesday.
That underscored the risks for the market ahead of the third quarter earnings season.
"We see this rally as an opportunity to go defensive and start cutting long positions and start taking a view that we are close to the top end of this recent rally," Atif Latif, director of trading equities and derivatives at Guardian Stockbroker said.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)
For related prices, Reuters users may click on - *
UK stock report FTSE index: techMARK 100 index: FTSE futures: Gilt futures: Smallcap index: FTSE 250 index: FTSE 350 index: Market digest: Top 10 by vol: Top price gainers: Top % gainers: Top price losers: Top % losers:
* For related news, click on - *
UK hot stocks: Wall Street: Gilts report: Euro bond report
Pan European stock report:
Tokyo stocks: HK stocks: Sterling report: Dollar report:
* For company prices, click on - *
Company directory: By sector:
* For pan-European market data, click on - *
European Equities speed guide................
FTSE Eurotop 300 index...........................
DJ STOXX index...................................
Top 10 STOXX sectors........................
Top 10 EUROSTOXX sectors...................
Top 10 Eurotop 300 sectors..................
Top 25 European pct gainers....................
Top 25 European pct losers.....................
Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN STOCKS/