* Blue-chip FTSE 100 index up 0.2 percent
* Basic resources, bank stocks among top gainers
* Precious metals miners track weaker gold price
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By Atul Prakash and Peter Hobson
LONDON, Dec 5 Britain's top share index climbed
on Monday, after falling in the previous two sessions, with
basic resources stocks leading the market higher as prices of
industrial metals such as copper rose.
European share indexes largely shrugged off Italian Prime
Minister Matteo Renzi's resignation after he lost a referendum
on constitutional reform on Sunday.
British stocks underperformed most continental markets. The
blue-chip FTSE 100 index gained 0.2 percent compared
with a rise of 0.6 percent on Europe's STOXX 600.
The FTSE had slipped 0.3 percent in the previous session and
0.5 percent on Thursday. The benchmark index is up more than 8
percent so far this year.
"Despite a 'No' referendum vote in Italy, markets held up
rather well. UK banks have seen some buying interest on
expectations the sector may have seen the worst, while miners
are boosted by higher metals prices and Citi's bullish outlook
on the sector," said Jawaid Afsar, senior trader at Securequity.
Prices of copper and zinc surged by more
than 3 percent, thanks in part to a slide in the dollar and
buying by computer-driven funds.
Citigroup upgraded its stance on Western European miners to
"bullish" from "bearish", saying a more robust outlook for the
commodity complex in 2017 was likely to lead to cash flow and
Citigroup raised its rating on BHP Billiton to "buy"
from "sell", on Glencore to "buy" from "neutral" and on
Rio Tinto and Anglo American to "neutral" from
Shares in copper miner Antofagasta gained 4.9
percent, the FTSE 100's best performer. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto
and Glencore rose 1.6 to 4.4 percent. The wider UK mining index
was up 2.4 percent.
British banks also gained, with some investors taking
advantage of the sector's decline to a three-week low. The
sector index was up 0.5 percent, boosted by 2.3
percent and 1.8 percent gains in shares of Royal Bank of
Scotland and Barclays respectively.
Precious metals miners, however, came under pressure after
the price of gold fell by around 1 percent.
Shares in Fresnillo, Randgold Resources and
Polymetal International dropped by 2 to 4 percent.
On the macroeconomic front, a survey showed businesses in
Britain's services sector grew last month at their fastest pace
since January, and the broader economy kept up its momentum in
late 2016, even if firms have some worries about the year ahead
(Reporting by Atul Prakash and Peter Hobson, editing by Larry