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Glance-Commodity slide dents Britain's FTSE 100 index

By Simon Falush LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - A commodity price slide dented miners and energy stocks, pushing Britain's top shares lower by the close on Friday, while uncertainty over the Irish debt situation crimped appetite for riskier assets like equities. The FTSE 100 ended 18.36 points, or 0.3 percent lower at 5,796.87. The index is still up 21 percent since it hit the year's low in July, boosted in part by prospects of a renewed bout of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. "Markets have rallied strongly in the last few weeks, and there's a bit of concern that some of the reasons behind that, like the effectiveness of QE II are not soundly based," said Kevin Gardiner, head of investment strategy at Barclays Wealth. Commodity-related stocks were the top fallers as the market digested Chinese data showing inflation hit a 25-month high in October and bank lending blew out, fuelling concerns the economy is overheating. The prospect of higher rates in China depressed metal and crude oil prices, which pushed mining and energy stocks lower, with Kazakhmys the top FTSE faller, down 3.4 percent. The market was also pressured by uncertainty over the Irish debt situation. Sources told Reuters that Ireland was in talks about tapping emergency funds from the Financial Stability Facility, refocusing investor concerns on the state of the finances of peripheral euro zone economies. RBS RECOVERS Royal Bank of Scotland was a strong performer, adding 2.2 percent as fears about the knock-on effect of any possible Irish default receded as plans to sort out the country's finances began to take shape. RBS has the second biggest exposure, 5.020 billion euros, to Irish sovereign debt, based on data supplied to regulators under a stress test conducted in July. Lloyds and Standard Chartered also climbed 1.4 and 0.5 percent respectively, while the banking sector pared losses. Rolls-Royce was the top FTSE 100 gainer, up 4.6 percent, buoyed by an update from the firm that the A380 engine failure was confined to one component in the company's Trent 900's turbine. Investec said the "clarity is a positive". Shares in the enginemaker had fallen more than 10 percent since Nov. 3 when Qantas Airways suspended flights of its Airbus A380 planes after the failure of a Trent 900 caused one of its aircraft to make an emergency landing. A return to a slightly more risk averse environment saw some investors rotate into supermarkets and utilities from more cyclically oriented stocks. Tesco added 2.5 percent while Scottish & Southern Energy and Centrica added 1.6 and 1.2 percent respevtively. The index is holding comfortably above the nearest major support levels. "The first support is last week's low at 5667 and the 9-week moving average at 5686," said Nicole Elliott at Mizuho Corporate Bank. "Below that there is the week before that's low at 5630... but that's not very strong." (Reporting by Simon Falush) Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN STOCKS (simon.falush@reuters.com. +44 20 7542 7681) Reuters Messaging: simon.falush.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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