February 24, 2017 / 7:44 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 2-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb. 24

(Adds company news item)

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 4 points at 7267 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.1 pct ahead of the cash market open.

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.4 percent lower at 7271.37 on Thursday, depressed by Barclays stock after the bank reported earnings, by mining sector shares and those trading ex-dividend.

* RBS: Royal Bank of Scotland reported a sharp rise in losses on Friday as higher misconduct charges and restructuring costs underscored the challenges facing the lender nine years after it was bailed out in the world’s biggest bank rescue.

* WILLIAM HILL: British bookmaker William Hill Plc said on Friday its annual operating profit fell 10 percent as challenging trading conditions and unfavourable football results late in the year took their toll.

* PEARSON: Pearson, the global education company battling a collapse in its biggest market, said it would take further costs out of the business and look to sell some assets after posting a $3.3 billion pretax loss and a sharp rise in debt.

* RIGHTMOVE: British property website Rightmove reported higher 2016 profit as more customers logged on to its sites to buy and sell houses, but said traffic to its website generated fewer leads for brokers as the Brexit vote dampened housing market activity.

* STANDARD LIFE: Insurer and asset manager Standard Life posted a forecast-beating 9 percent rise in 2016 operating profit, helped by increasing client diversification, it said on Friday.

* IAG: British Airways owner IAG reported operating profit in line with expectations on Friday, and said it would increase cash returns to shareholders through a stock buyback.

* PURPLEBRICKS: Shares in Purplebricks Group Plc rose as much as 19 percent on Thursday after the British online real estate agent said it would enter the U.S. market, having built a leading position in a fragmented industry at home.

* SHELL: Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF SA said it reached a preliminary deal with Royal Dutch Shell Plc on Thursday to develop oil and gas assets in the Vaca Muerta shale field, involving a $300 million investment from Shell.

* 3I: Investment company 3i said it was looking to conclude the sale of the struggling lingerie brand Agent Provocateur over concerns that the business could face a cash crunch next week after staff are paid, Sky News reported.

* OIL: U.S. oil prices fell on Friday after government data released late in the previous session showed stockpiles rose last week for a seventh straight week, although losses were muted as inventory growth was well below expectations.

* GOLD: Gold prices held steady on Friday near 3-1/2-month highs hit in the previous session following tempered expectations of a U.S. rate hike in March, and as investors awaited clarity on President Donald Trump’s economic policy.

* 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 topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru)

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