August 22, 2019 / 6:52 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Thursday, Aug 22

(Adds futures, more company news)

Aug 22 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen to opening 29 points lower at 7,175 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* GLAXOSMITHKLINE: British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc said on Thursday its long-lasting two-drug regimen to treat HIV met the main goal of a late-stage study.

* LAURA ASHLEY: Clothing and furnishing retailer Laura Ashley reported an annual pretax loss on Thursday, in what the company said was a difficult period for the group and retail sector.

* ANTOFAGASTA: Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc on Thursday reported a 44% jump in first-half profit, benefiting from higher copper sales, by-product revenue and lower cost of production.

* PREMIER OIL: British energy company Premier Oil on Thursday posted a 23.5% rise in its first-half profit after tax, boosted by record output, and reiterated its targets for the year.

* PLAYTECH PLC: Playtech Plc lowered its full-year revenue forecast for Asia on Thursday, as it struggles with rising competition in China and regulatory crackdown in Malaysia.

* RANK GROUP: Casino and gaming operator Rank Group Plc on Thursday reported a 22% slump in annual operating profit, hit by a drop in sales and traffic at its casinos and bingo halls earlier in the year.

* BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO: Four dominant e-cigarette makers including a unit of British American Tobacco face a probe into the health impacts of their products, as the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee asked on Wednesday about the firms’ research and marketing practices.

* RYANAIR: Ryanair can still avoid a planned strike by British pilots this week if it agrees to a new framework for talks, the chief of UK pilot union BALPA said on Wednesday.

* Britain and South Korea will sign a continuity Free Trade Agreement on Thursday to allow businesses to keep trading freely after Brexit at the end of October, the British government said.

* Major British employers gave average pay rises of 2.6% to staff in the three months to July, the highest pace of increase in more than 10 years, data from industry consultants XpertHR showed on Thursday.

* HSBC: HSBC Holdings Plc is considering a bid for Asian operations being sold by Aviva Plc, according to a Bloomberg report. bloom.bg/33Z5IZk

* EX-DIVS: Berkeley Group, Carnival ,Croda International, Imperial Brands, London Stock Exchange, Prudential, Reckitt Benckiser and Schroders Plc will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 5.7 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.

* London’s FTSE 100 rose 1.1% on Wednesday as oil majors tracked gains in crude prices and exporters benefitted from a weaker pound, while markets waited for minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July meeting for signs of further policy easing.

* GOLD: Gold prices were unchanged on Thursday, lingering above the key $1,500 level, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve chair’s speech at a global central bankers’ conclave for clues on future U.S. interest rate cuts.

* OIL: Oil prices slipped on Thursday, paring earlier gains, weighed down by lingering worries about the global economy and bigger-than-expected builds in oil product inventories in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru)

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