March 25, 2020 / 7:49 AM / 7 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 25

(Adds company news items and futures)

March 25 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 71 points on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers with futures up 2.64% ahead of cash markets open.

* UK INFLATION: British consumer price inflation slipped back in February from a six-month high it had reached the month before, reflecting a drop in the cost of fuel and video games that predated the massive current impact of coronavirus on the economy.

* HALFORDS: British bicycles and car products retailer Halfords warned that it was likely that sales would drop sharply as a result of government measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, prompting it to try to save cash.

* HILTON FOOD GROUP: Hilton Food Group, the international food packing business, said on Wednesday that all of its facilities remain fully operational during the coronavirus outbreak.

* YOURGENE HEALTH: Healthcare companies Novacyt and Yourgene Health Plc said on Wednesday that they would be teaming up to produce coronavirus testing products in the United Kingdom.

* PERSIMMON: British housebuilder Persimmon said on Wednesday it was starting an orderly shutdown of its construction sites with only essential work taking place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

* SSP: British travel-food company SSP launched emergency measures to prop up its business on Wednesday, including layoffs and applying for support under the government’s coronavirus schemes, saying its business in Europe had plunged as much as 85%.

* COVID-19: Britain will open a temporary hospital next week at the ExCel exhibition centre in east London, health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday, as the country posted its biggest daily rise in coronavirus deaths.

* BRITISH RETAIL: With Britain in lockdown, supermarkets have started to limit the number of customers in stores at any one time to enforce social distancing.

* FINANCIAL RESULTS: More than four million British businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts so they can prioritise managing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the government announced on Wednesday.

* GOLD: Gold prices inched up in volatile trade on Wednesday, as growing hopes for a massive U.S. economic stimulus package offset liquidation by investors looking for cash and to cover losses in other assets.

* OIL: Oil prices extended gains for a third session on Wednesday, rising alongside broader financial markets on hopes Washington will soon approve a massive aid package.

* The UK blue-chip index closed up 9.1% on Tuesday as the index saw its best day since the huge swings of the 2008 financial crash on Tuesday, retracing some of the past week’s losses as massive stimulus efforts globally calmed investors.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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