July 24, 2020 / 6:56 AM / 11 days ago

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

(Adds futures, news items)

July 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 57 points lower at 6,155 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 1.2% ahead of cash markets open.

* ASTRAZENECA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca’s drug to treat patients with a form of lung disease.

* CENTRICA: British Gas owner Centrica Plc posted lower first-half earnings partly due to the coronavirus crisis and said it would sell its North American business, Direct Energy, to NRG Energy for $3.63 billion in cash.

* FERGUSON: Sales at plumbing supplier Ferguson’s main U.S. operations fell 9% year-on-year in April, before recovering to fall by just 0.6% for the May to July period.

* VODAFONE: Vodafone, the world’s second biggest mobile operator, said it would list its towers unit, Vantage Towers, in Frankfurt in early 2021.

* PEARSON: British education company Pearson swung to a first-half loss due to the impact of COVID-19, although it said it was on track to deliver adjusted operating profit broadly consistent with expectations as markets recovered.

* IAG: British Airways owner International Airlines Group said it had signed a multi-year renewal agreement with American Express, extending its worldwide commercial partnership with the payments company.

* NAKED WINES: Online wine seller Naked Wines said its sales surged 67% in June compared with last year as orders continued to rise even after the easing of Britain’s coronavirus-induced lockdown.

* RETAIL: British retail sales grew more strongly than expected in June and returned almost to their pre-lockdown level as non-essential stores in England reopened to the public in the middle of the month.

* OIL: Oil prices rose on the back of a weaker U.S. dollar, although demand concerns stemming from rising coronavirus cases and escalating U.S.-China tensions kept a cap on prices.

* The UK blue-chip index ended up 0.1% on Thursday, as barely staying positive as optimism over corporate earnings was offset by a discouraging U.S. jobs report and rising COVID-19 cases.

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


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Samantha Machado and Tapanjana Rudra in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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