* FTSE 100 up 0.4 percent
* Miners bounce back on Chinese stimulus bets
* Meggitt rises after UBS upgrade
By Francesco Canepa and Tricia Wright
LONDON, March 21 Britain's top shares looked set
to snap a three-weak losing streak on Friday as mining stocks
rose, boosted by hopes that China, the world's top metals
consumer, would take more steps to stimulate its economy.
The FTSE 350 Mining index, down some 10 percent
from a late February peak and held back by worries over the pace
of Chinese growth, led the market higher with a 1.2 percent
advance, building on a 0.6 percent spike on Thursday.
Some investors are starting to buy into the sector's recent
dip on speculation about new stimulus measures from China, where
authorities have given indications they are considering moves to
support slowing economic growth.
"An interesting short-term buying opportunity as China is
rumoured to add some stimulus which would benefit especially the
large international mining companies," Hampstead Capital hedge
fund manager Lex van Dam said.
China's health is a key factor for the FTSE 100, given the
mining sector's heavy weighting. It is the fourth-biggest sector
within the UK benchmark, accounting for almost 9 percent of the
index, data from index compiler FTSE showed.
Shares in mining stocks added 7.5 points to the FTSE 100
was up 26.86 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,569.30 points
by 1138 GMT. The index was up 0.6 percent for the week after
three straight weekly losses.
Mining shares have swung widely over the past year as
investors factored in slower GDP growth in China, where
authorities are trying to engineer a shift to a more
consumer-focussed economy from an export-driven one without
"People are still quite obsessed with the exact (GDP) number
and whether the Chinese government will do something," said Jade
Fu, investment manager at Heartwood Investment Management, which
has around 2 billion pounds ($3.30 billion) under management.
"As long as people are focused on that number, we will see
Underperforming basic-resources shares have hampered the
FTSE's progress, with is roughly at last June's level. The euro
zone's Euro STOXX 50 index has risen more than 10
FTSE REBOUNDS FROM BOTTOM
The British index has tested the bottom of its rising
channel stretching back to August 2013 at 6,500, and some
technical analysts see scope for further growth.
Valerie Gastaldy, head of technical analysis firm
Day-By-Day, said the index could hit 6,684, previously both a
support and resistance level, and maybe the year's high, around
Aircraft parts supplier Meggitt also notched up
good gains, rising 1.4 percent, after UBS upgraded the stock to
"buy" from "neutral". The investment bank argued that Meggitt's
recent share price fall - down by roughly 10 percent since the
start of 2014 - has been overdone.
Trading volumes in Meggitt came in at around a quarter of
the stock's three-month average daily volume - above those for
the FTSE, where volumes only stood at around a tenth.
($1 = 0.6057 British Pounds)
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright and Sudip Kar-Gupta;
Editing by Larry King)