* FTSEurofirst 300 index extends Thursday’s rally
* Miners among top gainers as metals prices up
* RBS shares slump after “disappointing” results
* Eni up after in-line dividend (Updates prices, adds details)
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - European equities extended the previous session’s strong rally to a three-week high on Friday, with stronger miners on the back of firmer metals prices and some encouraging company updates supporting the market.
However, state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland slumped more than 7 percent after reporting its eighth straight full-year loss, of 1.97 billion pounds, as restructuring and litigation costs continued to weigh it down.
Jefferies analysts called RBS results “disappointing”.
Miners were the top performers, with the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index gaining 3.3 percent following sharp gains in the prices of key industrial metals such as copper and aluminium.
Shares in Glencore, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose 3 to 5 percent, helping the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index gain 1.6 percent by 1138 GMT.
Earlier in the session, the index climbed to 1,308.99 points, its highest level since early February. It closed 2 percent higher in the previous session and headed for its second positive week in a row.
The market also got support from gains in Asia following reassuring comments from world finance leaders. Setting the tone for the Shanghai meeting of the Group of 20, China’s central bank chief, Zhou Xiaochuan, said Beijing still had the room and tools to support the world’s second largest economy.
“Growing speculations that the PBoC (People’s Bank of China) might be taking additional measures soon to boost growth is fuelling the positive sentiment this morning,” said Markus Huber, trader at City of London Markets.
“Overall sentiment is positive as markets are closing in towards the highs of the current trading range.”
Oil stocks were also among the top gainers, up 3.1 percent, helped by stronger crude prices with Eni up 5.9 percent after proposing a dividend in line with expectations in spite of a heavy fourth-quarter net loss.
Other company updates also helped the market. Spanish information technology company Amadeus was up 2.6 percent after saying it was targeting a dividend pay out of 50 percent of reported profits in 2016, while satellite operator SES rose 3.8 percent after forecasting steady to slightly higher revenue this year.
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Toby Chopra and Katharine Houreld)