February 8, 2017 / 7:27 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 8

(Adds company news items and updates futures)

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were up 0.11 percent ahead of the cash market open on Wednesday.

* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.2 percent at 7,186.22 points on Tuesday, boosted by a weak sterling and a surge in services company DCC, while UK mid-caps posted a record closing level.

* RIO TINTO: Global miner Rio Tinto, said on Wednesday it will pay a bigger-than-expected annual dividend of $1.70 per share on the back of a strong recovery in mineral commodities markets in 2016 and cost-cutting.

Rio Tinto wants to cut its debt further, as the company looks to ensure it can withstand any volatility in global commodity markets, Chief Financial Officer Chris Lynch said.

* CO-OPERATIVE GROUP: Britain’s Co-operative Group said Richard Pennycook, its CEO who played a key role in steering the group through a 2013 crisis, is to step down on March 1 and be succeeded by Steve Murrells, the current boss of the group’s food business.

* SHIRE: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Shire ViroPharma on Tuesday, accusing it of abusing government processes in order to fend off generic competition to its antibiotic Vancocin HCI, the agency said in a statement.

* HARGREAVES LANSDOWN: Investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown said pretax profit rose 21 percent year-on-year in the six months to the end of December, helped by strong equities trading after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

* TULLOW: Africa-focused Tullow Oil reported a loss for a third consecutive year in 2016 after it was forced to write off further exploration costs, the company said on Wednesday.

* BHP: Workers are set to strike on Thursday at BHP Billiton Plc’s Escondida copper mine after contract talks mediated by the Chilean government failed to reach a deal, the main union at the world’s largest copper mine told Reuters.

* DUNELM GROUP: British homewares retailer Dunelm Group Plc raised its interim dividend by 8.3 percent after reporting a rise in half-year sales boosted by strong performance of its online business.

* TESCO BANK: British banking executives and security experts are growing frustrated at the dearth of information available more than three months after 2.5 million pounds ($3.09 million) was stolen from Tesco Bank in the UK’s biggest financial cyber heist. The bank is owned by supermarket chain Tesco Plc .

* BRITAIN ECONOMY: British employers struggled to find the staff they needed in January, forcing them to increase starting salaries for permanent staff at the fastest pace in nine months, a survey showed on Wednesday.

* 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 http://topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : http://topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Rahul in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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