February 27, 2020 / 7:58 AM / in a month

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb. 27

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Feb 27 - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 168 points lower at 6,875 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 1.31% ahead of cash market open.

* WPP: WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company, said it would target flat organic growth and profit margin in 2020 after weakness in major markets dragged its fourth quarter down.

* ASTON MARTIN: British luxury carmaker Aston Martin posted a 104.3 million-pound ($136 million) pretax loss in 2019, after a tough year in which its sales fell and share price slumped as it ploughed money into its first sport utility vehicle.

* CO-OPERATIVE BANK: Britain’s Co-operative Bank posted a pre-tax loss of 152.1 million pounds ($197.64 million) for 2019, after tough mortgage competition and payouts for mis-sold loan insurance continued to weigh on the lender.

* PERSIMMON: Persimmon said on Thursday Chief Executive Officer David Jenkinson would step down from his role, months after Britain’s second-largest homebuilder said it would address concerns over the quality of its homes.

* RECKITT BENCKISER: British household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser reported full-year comparable sales at the low end of company forecasts on Thursday, as it suffered from a slowdown in demand for over-the-counter medicines in the United States and infant formula in China, its biggest market.

* BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO: The world’s No.2 tobacco maker, British American Tobacco, reported better-than-expected annual revenue on Thursday, benefiting from higher pricing and a relatively strong performance of its traditional tobacco business and new segments.

* ST. JAMES’S PLACE: British wealth manager St. James’s Place on Thursday posted a 5% fall in full-year operating profit in line with forecasts, after the pace of gross inflows of client cash slowed and costs linked to a technology upgrade increased.

* HUNTING: British oilfield services provider Hunting Plc reported a small drop in its annual core profit on Thursday, as strong performance in its Asia Pacific and Middle East operations offset weak North American shale activity.

* TOPPS TILES: British tile and wood flooring retailer Topps Tiles warned on full year profit on Wednesday, blaming weak consumer spending in the home improvement sector.

* INCHCAPE: Car dealer and distributor Inchcape Plc on Thursday warned of a small drop in earnings this year after reporting a 6.9% decline in 2019 profit, hit by unrest in Hong Kong and Chile as well as supply constraints in Australia.

* HIKMA PHARMACEUTICALS: Hikma Pharmaceuticals on Thursday forecast sales growth for 2020 after it surpassed analysts’ expectations for annual operating profit and revenue, as demand for its injectable treatments and newly launched drugs in the United States rose.

* RSA: British insurer RSA posted an above-forecast operating profit of 656 million pounds ($852.41 million) in 2019, helped by strong underwriting performance and a restructuring of its international commercial business, it said on Thursday.

* EX-DIVS: Astrazeneca, Barclays, Diageo, Easyjet , HSBC will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 27.8 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations.

* London’s mid-cap index slid to its lowest in more than three months on Wednesday amid worries that Britain’s upcoming budget may disappoint investors, while the FTSE 100 snapped a four-day losing run after a rally on Wall Street.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Indranil Sarkar and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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