* FTSE 100 up 1 pct
* Hammerson tops FTSE after increase in net asset value
* Miners receive China boost to extend strong start to 2014
* Troubled RSA lifted by turnaround optimism
By Alistair Smout and Joshua Franklin
LONDON, Feb 17 Britain's top shares advanced on
Monday to extend a two-week rally, with stocks that are
sensitive to optimism over the economy receiving a boost from
signs of growth both domestically and abroad.
Hammerson rose 4.4 percent to its highest level
since 2008 after the shopping centre landlord posted a 5.7
percent rise in net asset value, with its malls benefiting from
a recovering British economy.
The stock was the top riser on the FTSE 100, which
was up 69.89, or 1.1 percent, at 6,733.51 points by 1159 GMT.
No sectors were in negative territory, and only 11
individual stocks fell.
Miners rose 1.3 percent after data showed
China's banks disbursed the most loans in any month in four
years in January, suggesting growth may not be cooling as much
as some fear. China is the world's biggest metals consumer.
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
Jeremy Batstone-Carr analyst at Charles Stanley, 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."
Leading financials higher was RSA, up 2.8 percent on
investor optimism that the troubled British insurer is close to
finding a way to effectively plug a 200 million pound ($335
million) hole in its balance sheet.