UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Fri March 2

LONDON, March 2 Fri Mar 2, 2012 7:01am GMT

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index is seen rising on Friday, tracking gains overnight on Wall Street and in Asia, underpinned by the European Central Bank's fresh liquidity injection this week.

The UK blue chip index looks set to gain 6-8 points, or 0.1 percent, according to financial bookmakers, having ended up 59.74 points, or 1 percent, at 5,931.25 on Thursday, wiping out the 1 percent drop seen Wednesday which followed bearish comments on the U.S. economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The spotlight will be on the two-day European summit that ends on Friday, where leaders have been discussing the right balance between budget austerity and reviving lost growth, and finance ministers gave provisional approval to a second bailout for Greece.

Investors will also focus on economic data releases, with February UK Markit/CIPS construction PMI due at 0930 GMT.

Across the Atlantic, the February ISM New York index is out at 1445 GMT.

* Shares firm as ECB liquidity boost lifts sentiment

* Wall St returns to 2008 highs on banks

* Nikkei up, but struggles to clear major resistances

* U.S. bonds steady but pressured as Europe fears fade

* Euro suffers post-ECB blues; downside seen

* Gold inches up as buyers trickle back after selloff

* Copper eyeing smallest weekly gain in a month

* Brent falls below $126 as Saudi supply fears ease

UK stocks to watch on Friday:

BAE SYSTEMS

Britain's biggest defence contractor, has brushed aside a plea by UK prime minister David Cameron to save high-level manufacturing jobs and is proceeding to axe around 2,000 posts, the Guardian said.

SHIRE

The pharmaceutical group rose on Thursday on revived talk of a possible bid worth more than 3,000 pence per share from industry heavyweights including GlaxoSmithKline and Germany's Bayer, according to the Daily Express market report.

BBA AVIATION

The company reports full-year results.

IMI

The company reports full-year results.

LAIRD

The company reports full-year results.

RENTOKIL INITIAL

The company reports full-year results.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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