* FTSE 100 up 0.6 pct
* Insurance firms rally after regulator's "blunder"
* Miners continue strong rally
* Index set for first quarterly fall since June
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, March 31 UK shares rose on Monday
boosted by appetite for downtrodden insurers and resurgent
miners, though the British blue chip index was still set for its
first quarterly fall since June.
Insurers rallied, with Resolution, Aviva and
Legal & General all up 1 percent to 3.2 percent having
slumped in the previous session.
The life insurance sector fell as much as 7.1 percent on
Friday on concerns about the extent of a leaked investigation by
a UK regulator, before regaining some of its losses after the
regulator said the investigation would be limited.
The shares closed 2.6 percent lower on Friday and the
recovery continued on Monday.
"The insurance sector is seeing a bit of a relief rally. The
clarification on Friday afternoon helped the insurance sector
pull back from the lows, but we've only recovered about half of
the losses," David Madden, analyst at IG, said.
"For as long as this is hanging of the insurance sector,
there will be concerns though, even if in the short term we see
A 3.2 percent rise in Resolution still saw it 4 percent off
of its closing price on Thursday.
Miners rose 1.4 percent to take their rally
since March 20 to 5.7 percent.
After a string of weaker data reports from China,
expectations are building over possible intervention by the
government to boost demand in the world's largest metals
consumer. The Chinese Premier said last week China could act to
support infrastructure investment.
Rio Tinto led the miners higher with a 2 percent
gain, as Credit Suisse reiterated the stock on its "focus" list.
"Potential for shareholder returns at Rio Tinto is larger
and could be sooner than any of its peer group including BHP,"
analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a note.
By 0740 GMT, the FTSE 100 index was up 0.6 percent,
or 34.35 points, at 6,649.93, at a two week high.
However, the index was still down 1.5 percent for the year
on the last day of the first quarter, and set for its first
quarterly fall since June last year.
Concerns over the economic impact of ongoing tensions
between Russia and the West over Ukraine, as well as weaker data
from the United States as well as China, hit stocks in the early
part of the year.
"If you look at the sell-off we've had compared to all the
negative news we have, we would have seen a much worse sell-off
if there wasn't underlying strength in this market to start
with," IG's Madden said.
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)