British shares edge higher, financials strong
* FTSE 100 rises 0.1 percent * Aviva benefits from BofA/ML comment * Miners hit by weaker Chinese imports * HSBC up on report may float part of UK business By Alistair Smout LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index edged up on Monday, extending strong gains from late last week with leading risers and fallers driven by trade data from China showing a large surplus and hinting at growing momentum in the global economy. The FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 6,556.30 points, after the Chinese numbers helped Asian shares start the week on a positive note. Many mining stocks fell on the same data, which also showed imports rose 5.3 percent, below a forecast of 7.2 percent. The FTSE 100 posted its strongest gains in two months on Friday after U.S. jobs data came in stronger than expected but was not seen posing an immediate threat to continued monetary stimulus in the United States. It broke through its 200-day moving average at around 6,510, which was being targeted as a support level to help underpin further gains. "I think we're consolidating ahead of what should be a good week. We could drop about 50 points, but there's room for a 200 point rise before year-end," Zeg Choudhry, head of trading at Northland Capital, said, adding banks and insurers should lead the market higher. Financials added 7.5 points to the index, led by insurer Aviva, which gained 2.5 percent as traders cited its addition to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's "Europe1" list. Asia-exposed HSBC contributed 3.3 points after a media report said it was considering floating up to 30 percent of its British retail and commercial banking arm. The top individual faller was Tullow Oil, down 2.1 percent after it said it had dug a dry well in Ethiopia. Liberum retained a buy rating on the stock, saying the rig was being moved to another prospect and "significant activity continues in Kenya".
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