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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Nov 5

(Adds company news items, futures)

Nov 5 - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 2 points lower at 5,581 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.32% ahead of cash market open.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca, the British drugmaker working on one of the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, beat third-quarter sales estimates on strong demand for its diverse portfolio of drugs during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and maintained its 2020 forecasts.

* WIZZ AIR: Wizz Air said revenue plunged 72% in the six months ended September as passenger numbers shrunk during the pandemic, and forecast a challenging winter as restrictions continue.

* RSA: British insurer RSA said its underwriting profit rose strongly in the first nine months of 2020 due to improvements it had made to its underwriting strategy, despite the impact of the pandemic.

* LANCASHIRE: Insurer Lancashire estimated catastrophe losses to be in the range of $65 million to $75 million for the third quarter, but kept its expectation for coronavirus-linked losses unchanged.

* SUPERDRY: Britain’s Superdry posted lower first-half revenue with coronavirus-led measures hitting traffic in stores, while the fashion retailer prepares to shut its stores for a second national lockdown in England.

* INCHCAPE: Auto distributor Inchcape said it expects its second half to be ahead of market view after a better-than-expected third quarter, helped by pent-up demand for new and used cars after the first wave of corornavirus-led lockdowns.

* GOLD: Gold firmed as investors were cautiously optimistic Democrat Joe Biden would edge past President Donald Trump in a tight race to the White House, boosting the likelihood of more economic stimulus.

* OIL: Oil dropped as Democrat Joe Biden edged closer to the White House but the Republicans look likely to retain Senate control, decreasing the chances of any huge COVID-19 relief package.

* The UK blue-chip index closed 1.7% higher on Wednesday as a weaker pound boosted shares of exporters, although investors remained cautious on prospects of a contested outcome to the U.S. presidential elections.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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