* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct
* Troubled RSA lifted by turnaround optimism
* Charts bullish for FTSE; Guardian targets 6,775
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Feb 17 Britain's top shares advanced on
Monday, with RSA among the biggest risers as investors
welcomed signs that turnaround plans are afoot at the troubled
RSA climbed 1.8 percent after Sky News reported that the
company, which is reeling from an accounting scandal at its
Irish division, is looking for prospective buyers for one of its
Canadian businesses which could help it raise as much as 200
million pounds ($335 million).
RSA has previously said it was considering all options to
raise capital that could include the sale of business units.
The Financial Times said RSA was sounding out institutional
investors to raise as much as 350 million pounds in a share
placing that would allow it to avoid a rights issue.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said
Stephen Hester - the former RBS chief who was hired to
lead RSA earlier this month - had approached top institutional
investors to win their support for a share placing.
"You're going to see a raft of 'get your house in order'
news as he comes in, and that should be positive for the stock
as he's got a proven track record of turning (things) around,"
Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said.
"It's addressing the issues that were inherent from before
and once it sorts them out, it's a good company."
The FTSE 100 was up 27.83 points, or 0.4 percent, at
6,691.45 points by 0909 GMT.
The index, up around 4 percent from its February lows, has
recouped more than half of what it lost during the recent
emerging markets sell-off.
It climbed above its 50-day moving average last week, a
technical signal which suggested underlying support from buyers.
"The FTSE remains in an uptrend and we continue to see the
market pushing higher," said Atif Latif, director of trading at
Guardian Stockbrokers, who saw scope for the index to test
6,775, followed by a move up to 6,867.
He considered the FTSE 100 to be attractive from a valuation
perspective. The index, currently trading on a 12-month forward
price/earnings ratio of 12.6 times, is well below its 15-year
average of 14.5 times, Thomson Reuters Datastream shows.
Gold miner Randgold Resources firmed 1.7 percent as
the gold price hit a 3-1/2 month peak on Monday, and with
traders also citing a Citi upgrade to "neutral" on valuation
grounds as behind the share price rise.