* FTSE close to rising above 50-day simple moving average
* Chinese data boosts mining stocks
* Bullish Bernstein note buoys Barclays and other banks
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, April 10 Britain's benchmark equity
index rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, with some
technical indicators showing scope for more gains and robust
Chinese import data buoying mining stocks.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent, or 40.08
points, to 6,353.29 points by the middle of the London trading
Mining stocks such as Evraz and Vedanta
dominated the FTSE's leaderboard, after Chinese data showed that
imports into the world's top metals consumer had risen nearly
three times faster than expected in March on an annual basis.
"The Chinese data is definitely helping sentiment," said
Gekko Markets sales trader Anita Paluch.
Banks also performed strongly. Barclays rose 3.8
percent to add the most points to the FTSE 100, which traders
attributed to a bullish note on the sector from investment bank
Sanford C. Bernstein.
"We expect Barclays, RBS and HSBC to
benefit from improved investment banking and capital markets
activity, with Barclays our top pick going into earnings given
its larger U.S. exposure," its analysts wrote in the note.
POSITIVE TECHNICAL SIGNS
The FTSE's gains meant the index was close to rising back
above its 50-day simple moving average level of around 6,368
points, and breaking above that would be seen as a bullish sign
by traders who use such technical analysis.
Since the start of April, the FTSE 100 - which has risen
nearly 10 percent since the start of 2013 - has traded in a
relatively tight 288 point range from lows of around 6,214 to
peaks of 6,501.78 points.
Hartmann Capital trader Basil Petrides said he did not
expect the FTSE 100 to progress much further from those peaks in
the near term, with many investors still looking to sell shares
to book profits on the rally so far this year.
"I see the FTSE forming a short-to-medium-term top, with a
slightly downwards bias," he said.
He added he would look to buy up mining stocks such as Rio
Tinto for relatively cheap prices on days when they
fell, and would only hold them for around 2 weeks before then
looking to sell those mining shares back for a profit.
"I would look to buy the miners on the dips but only for a
short-term period," he said.
(additional reporting by Toni Vorobyova; Editing by Ruth