* FTSE 100 up 1.2 pct
* Hammerson tops FTSE after forecast-beating report
* Results point to continuing UK recovery
* Miners receive China boost to extend strong start to 2014
By Joshua Franklin and Alistair Smout
LONDON, Feb 17 Britain's top shares extended a
two-week rally on Monday, with stocks that are sensitive to
optimism over the economy receiving a boost from signs of growth
both domestically and abroad.
A string of positives from Hammerson's results
helped its shares rise 3.3 percent to their highest level since
2008, with the shopping centre landlord benefiting from a
recovering British economy.
As well as improved earnings and net asset value, the group
upped its dividend per share by 8 percent to 10.8 pence.
The stock was the top riser on the FTSE 100, which
was up 78.70, or 1.2 percent, at 6,742.32 points by 1429 GMT.
Shares in fellow real estate development trusts, British
Land Company and Land Securities Group, also
rose by more than 2 percent, putting them amongst the top 10
performers in Britain's leading share index.
"When you look at property, it's always a great barometer
for confidence. When you see the likes of (Hammerson) coming out
with good numbers it perks up the whole market," said Mike
McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.
No sectors were in negative territory and only 10 individual
Volumes were relatively subdued on the FTSE 100, with Wall
Street shut for a holiday. Just 60 percent of the 90 day average
volume for the index had been traded with two hours left to go
in the session.
Miners rose 1.3 percent after data showed banks
in China, the world's biggest metals consumer, disbursed more
loans than in any month for four years in January, suggesting
growth there may not be cooling as much as some fear.
The news was the latest sign of calm in emerging markets,
concerns over which knocked 6 percent off the FTSE at the end of
January. The index has rallied 4.5 percent in the two weeks
since the index touched its low for the year so far.
"The diminution in the emerging market turmoil is probably
the main driver, (and there is) a slight sense of risk-on," said
Charles Stanley analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr, referring to the
outperformance of growth-sensitive stocks.
So-called cyclical stocks in the basic materials, financial
and energy sectors, which tend to rise with optimism over the
economy, combined to add 34 points to the index.
Strength in the miners helped the FTSE outperform the German
DAX and French CAC, which traded roughly flat.
The sector is up 7.6 percent so far in 2014, having fallen
16.4 percent last year.
"I'm interested in the rally we're seeing in materials
companies, which are one of the better performing sectors of the
year, having been the worst, globally, last year," said Mike
Ingram, analyst at BGC Partners.
"The market has brushed off any concerns that there had been
over growth ... but there are concerns remaining over structural
overcapacity, as well as how sustainable any demand recovery
will turn out to be."