* FTSE 100 closes down 0.4 pct
* Ex-divs take about 14 points off index
* Barclays gives up gains after results
* Intu Properties, RSA top gainers
(Recasts, adds details and updates prices at close)
By Kit Rees and Helen Reid
LONDON, Feb 23 Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100
index closed lower on Thursday, depressed by Barclays
stock after the bank reported earnings, by mining sector shares
and those trading ex-dividend.
Barclays, the third major listed British lender to
report earnings this week, gave up gains made immediately after
its results to end 2.6 percent lower.
Analysts cited concerns around potential litigation costs.
Among other laggards, HSBC was down 4 percent,
while mining firms and those trading without
entitlement to their latest dividend payout, which included Rio
Tinto and easyJet, were the biggest fallers.
Ex-divs took about 14 points off the FTSE 100.
On the upside, both Intu Properties and RSA
saw large gains after reporting well-received results.
Intu, which owns and manages shopping centres, jumped 6.8
percent and posted its biggest gains for six years after its
earnings beat expectations and it increased its dividend.
Intu was one of the most shorted stocks before its earnings
report this week, according to figures from Markit, with 11.9
percent of its shares outstanding on loan.
Insurer RSA rose almost 5 percent after it posted a
2016 profit beat and increased its target for return on equity.
CEO Stephen Hester said customers had benefited
"significantly" from RSA not having been sold to Zurich
Insurance, which withdrew a takeover offer in 2015.
"We like what Stephen Hester is doing at RSA and view the
recent announcement of the disposal of the UK legacy book as a
great deal but, in our view, this good news is now all in the
share price," Panmure Gordon analyst, Barrie Cornes, said. The
broker has a 'hold' rating on the stock.
Centrica did not fare as well after reporting
earnings. The stock lost 3.7 percent despite the company
returning to profit growth and flagging the possibility of a
dividend rise after two years of shareholder payout cuts.
"Today's dividend announcement of no growth in 2016 was a
surprise," Jefferies analysts said, noting that Centrica's
pension deficit ballooning to 1.1 billion pounds in 2016 might
be the reason for this.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)