* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 1.7 pct
* HSBC lower after results
* Telecom Italia up on Vivendi move
* Signs of ECB attention lift bank stocks (Adds details, updates prices)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Monday as firmer mining company shares helped offset concerns about Britain’s potential exit from the European Union, and a fall in HSBC.
Signs that the European Central Bank (ECB) would try to protect banks from being hit too hard by negative interest rates lifted euro zone banking stocks, with bonds and shares in Italy and Portugal - the focus of recent concern about the health of Europe’s financial sector - getting a boost.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended up 1.7 percent. The index is down nearly 10 percent since the start of 2016 due to concerns about a global economic slowdown.
Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent, underperforming gains of 2 percent on Germany’s DAX and 1.8 percent on France’s CAC.
Mining stocks were among the best performers, with Glencore and Anglo American both climbing by more than 10 percent, as the price of copper reached a two-week high.
Metals prices were boosted after an uptick in China’s steel industry raised the prospect of a revival in metals demand, given China’s role as the world’s biggest consumer of metals.
Shares in Telecom Italia also advanced after Vivendi increased its stake in Telecom Italia to 22.8 percent, strengthening its position as the top shareholder.
However, shares in HSBC slipped 0.9 percent after Europe’s biggest bank reported a surprise pre-tax loss of $858 million and predicted a “bumpier” financial environment ahead.
Analysts also cited uncertainty over Britain’s June 23 referendum on whether to leave the European Union - dubbed “Brexit” - as hitting other British stocks, with UK property stocks falling due to concerns that a vote to leave the EU could impact demand for London homes from foreign buyers.
Sterling also fell as bookmaker’s odds on Brexit narrowed.
The scale of the reaction on sterling, driven chiefly by the decision of London Mayor Boris Johnson to campaign for Britain to leave the EU, also depressed British government bond prices.
“A Brexit would be worse for the UK than for Europe,” Royal London Asset Management European equities fund manager, said Andrea Williams, said.
However, Societe Generale analysts said any decision by Britain to leave would be just as harmful for the rest of the EU as it would be for Britain.
“Our own view falls in the very negative camp, with an estimated loss of 0.5-1.0 percentage points per annum to the UK and 0.125-0.25 percentage points for the euro area over a decade. Given that potential growth is estimated at only 1.2 percentage points, a Brexit would be a significant shock to the euro area economy!” they wrote in a note.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Louise Ireland)