May 24, 2018 / 7:03 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on May 24

(Adds futures, company news items)

May 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE futures were up 0.1 percent ahead of the cash market open on Thursday.

* KINGFISHER: Kingfisher, Europe’s second-largest home improvement retailer, said on Thursday sales in its latest quarter were dented by February and March’s unusually adverse weather which kept shoppers at home.

* TATE & LYLE: British food ingredients firm Tate & Lyle on Thursday reported higher annual profits, helped by gains in all its business units and lower costs.

* CAPITAL & COUNTIES: British property developer Capital & Counties Properties said on Thursday it was considering a possible demerger, creating two separately-listed businesses based around its two landmark estates of Covent Garden and Earls Court.

* INTERTEK: British testing company Intertek Group reported a 4.4 percent rise in revenue at constant currency in the first four months of the year, helped by growth in its products division and contributions from recent acquisitions.

* GO-AHEAD GROUP: British bus and train company Go-Ahead Group upgraded its annual forecasts on Thursday, saying that improved efficiency measures on its Southeastern rail contract would boost profit in the year.

* UNITED UTILITIES: British water utility United Utilities Group Plc on Thursday posted a 3.6 percent rise in full-year profit, buoyed by lower costs and regulatory changes over how utilities charge their customers.

* PARAGON BANKING: British mortgage lender Paragon Banking Group said its first-half underlying profit rose 4.7 percent to 73.4 million pounds, driven by strong buy-to-let lending volumes.

* WIZZ AIR: Budget airline Wizz Air posted a 22 percent rise in annual profit and guided that profit would grow by at least 13 percent in its current financial year, as its cheap ticket prices continued to stimulate the market in eastern Europe.

* BRITISH INFLATION: British inflation fell unexpectedly in April, according to data that prompted fresh questions about when the Bank of England would next raise interest rates and pushed sterling to its lowest level against the dollar this year.

* BARCLAYS: Barclays Plc is not actively exploring a potential merger with rivals, two sources close to the bank said, as speculation mounts about how the British lender plans to defend itself against activist investor Edward Bramson.

* PADDY POWER BETFAIR: Paddy Power Betfair, has agreed to merge its U.S. business with fantasy sports company FanDuel to target the U.S. sports betting market that is set to open up in the coming years, the Irish bookmaker said on Wednesday.

* MARKS & SPENCER: Marks & Spencer is modernising rapidly to survive and has finally found a strategy that will deliver the profitable, growing business craved by investors, the British retailer said on Wednesday.

* OIL: Oil prices fell on Thursday on expectations that OPEC members will step up production in the face of worries over supply from both Venezuela and Iran.

* EX-DIVS: Bunzl Plc, Carnival Plc, DCC Plc, Imperial Brands Plc, WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc and Whitbread Plc will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 3.2 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.

* The UK blue chip index closed 1.1 percent lower at 7,788.44 on Wednesday, as oil majors and commodity-related stocks fell but well-received results made Marks & Spencer a bright spot.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit * For Top News : (Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru)

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