FTSE falls 0.3 pct, pressured by oils, miners
* Commods retreat after previous session's gains
* Banks mixed; Standard Chartered FY meets expectations
* Prudential rises after AIG deal slide
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index shed 0.3 percent early on Wednesday, after a three-day winning streak, weighed down by energy stocks and miners that fell back after gains in the previous session.
At 0912 GMT, the FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 15.25 points at 5,468.21, having gained 1.5 percent to hit a six-week high on Tuesday.
"I think it's a 'driver-less' day. We've had some amazingly good days," said Howard Wheeldon, strategist at BGC Partners.
"Given the mix of macro news that's coming through globally, the underlying trend for equities may well be down for a while, but at the moment I think it's the case of marking time."
Energy stocks were out of favour. Cairn Energy (CNE.L) was the worst off, dropping 0.9 percent, pressured by a price target cut from Morgan Stanley, while BG Group (BG.L), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and BP (BP.L) fell 0.3-0.8 percent.
Miners were also on the back foot, weighed down by weaker metals prices. Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC.L), Fresnillo (FRES.L) and Lonmin (LMI.L) dropped 0.3-0.7 percent.
Vedanta Resources (VED.L) shed 1.1 percent. The India-based miner priced $805 million of convertible bonds on Wednesday -- $30 million more than announced -- with a 4 percent coupon.
The coupon was at the top of the expected range of 3.5-4.0 percent. [ID:nLDE622081]
It was a mixed picture among banks. Standard Chartered (STAN.L) put on 0.3 percent after meeting expectations with a 13 percent jump in 2009 profit, as strong investment banking growth in its core Asian markets offset a jump in bad debts in the Middle East. [ID:nLDE62202N]
Barclays (BARC.L), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) put on 0.4-1.2 percent.
But sector heavyweight HSBC (HSBA.L), which on Monday reported below-forecast numbers, shed 0.9 percent. Its shares have see-sawed over the last couple of days, recovering on Tuesday after Monday's sharp post-results fall.
Admiral (ADML.L) was among the top fallers, off 1.9 percent, as BofA Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the stock to 'neutral' from 'buy' after Tuesday's results.
British Airways BAY.L dropped 1.4 percent, having notched up solid gains on Tuesday, ahead of traffic data due at 1415 GMT.
Prudential (PRU.L) rose 0.9 percent after its shares dropped around 20 percent in the last two days since it agreed a $35.5 billion takeover of the Asian life business of AIG.
Market players also pointed to talk that the fall in the share price may make it a takeover target for overseas companies.
Mobile telecoms heavyweight Vodafone (VOD.L) gained 0.9 percent as BofA Merrill Lynch added the stock to its influential "Europe 1" investment list. [ID:nLDE6220JB]
Ex-dividend factors knocked 4.83 points off the FTSE 100 index on Wednesday, with Alliance Trust (ATST.L), BHP Billiton (BLT.L), Diageo (DGE.L), Hammerson (HMSO.L) and RSA Insurance (RSA.L) all losing their dividend attractions.
Investors will look to get a steer on Friday's key non-farm payrolls data from the U.S. ADP Employment Report for February and Challenger U.S. jobs cut report for February, released in U.S. trade on Wednesday.
U.S. ISM non-manufacturing data will also be watched for clues about the performance of the world's largest economy as it emerges from recession.
(Editing by Erica Billingham)
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