* FTSEurofirst up 1.2 pct, still down year to date
* HSBC lower after results
* Home Retail surges after rival offer
* Telecom Italia, Mediaset up on Vivendi moves (Adds details, updates prices)
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, Feb 22 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Monday after a positive session in Asia, with gains in miners underpinning the market and investors shrugging off worries about Britain’s potential exit from the European Union.
By 0926 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.3 percent at 1,301.37 points, while Britain’s FTSE 100 was up by a similar amount.
“We had reasonably good data out of Asia which are supporting markets in Europe this morning but the political front in the region has become more uncertain,” said Jurgen Michels, chief economist at BayernLB in Munich.
“Brexit is not a story for equities at the moment but that might change ... for sure the probability of Brexit has increased after the positioning of Boris Johnson,” he said referring to the decision by London’s mayor to join the Brexit camp, which hit sterling.
Despite gains on Monday and last week, the index remains down nearly 10 percent since the start of 2016, due to concerns about a slowdown in the global economy which also affected results at HSBC.
Shares in Europe’s biggest bank fell 3.9 percent after it reported a surprise pre-tax loss of $858 million and predicted a ‘bumpier’ financial environment ahead.
The bank also confirmed it was among a number of financial institutions under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over recruitment practices in Asia.
The banking sub-index rose 1.3 percent, helped by comments late on Friday from European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio who said the ECB would aim to protect banks from unintended harm if it decides next month to ease policy in the face of a delayed rebound in inflation.
Miners were the top sectoral gainer, up 3.4 percent, after copper rose to its highest level in more than two weeks as an uptick in China’s beleaguered steel industry raised hopes for a revival in metals demand.
Shares in Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton were all up by between 4.8 percent and 5.7 percent.
Home Retail surged 12 percent after South African-based furniture retailer Steinhoff made a rival bid for the company which agreed earlier this month to be bought by supermarkets group Sainsbury‘s.
Telecom Italia rose 3.6 percent after Vivendi lifted its stake in the phone group to 22.8 percent, further strengthening its position as top shareholder.
Mediaset rose 4.4 after a report said the French media group had tabled an offer for its pay-TV business.
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Catherine Evans)