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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Wednesday, March 20
March 20, 2013 / 7:47 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Wednesday, March 20

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up between 2 and 5 points, or as much as 0.1 percent higher on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with FTSE 100 futures up 0.5 percent ahead of market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on.

* The British blue chip index closed 16.60 points lower on Tuesday, or down 0.3 percent at 6,441.32, extending losses in afternoon trade as uncertainty over a planned vote in the Cypriot parliament over its controversial bailout package mounted, hitting banks.

* As expected, Cyprus’s parliament overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout after market close on Tuesday, throwing international efforts to rescue the latest casualty of the euro zone debt crisis into disarray.

* Ex-dividend factors will take 11.78 points off the index on Wednesday, with heavyweight bank HSBC, Anglo American, Aviva and Intercontinental Hotels all trading without entitlement to their latest dividend payout.

* ENRC - Eurasian Natural Resources says 2012 core profit fell 45 percent, and does not propose a final dividend in its final results.

* SMITHS GROUP - Smiths Group raises its dividend 6 percent after reporting a pretax profit of 233 million pounds, pointing to a US medical device tax as behind tough trading conditions.

* ASOS - British online fashion retailer ASOS posted a 37 percent rise in second quarter sales, buoyed by a better than expected home performance and strong overseas growth.

* GREGGS - Greggs, Britain’s largest food-on-the-go retailer, posted an expected 2 percent fall in 2012 profit and said growth would be held back in the current year as the firm invests for the future.

* IQE - IQE posts a record second half performance, with second half sales up 45 percent to 53.7 million pounds.

* OPTOS - Optos is on track to meet its full year expectations, which remain unchanged as they move into the second half.

* BANKS - European Union lawmakers are expected to agree on Wednesday to bar bankers in Europe from getting bonuses bigger than their salary, introducing the first cap of its kind globally.

* The British government announces its budget today, with the attention of financial markets focused on whether finance minister George Osborne chooses to change the remit of the Bank of England in order to provide further stimulus to the economy.

* Among planned economic releases are the minutes of the latest Bank of England rate decision and UK claimant count unemployment change, both at 0930 GMT, and euro zone consumer confidence at 1500 GMT.


> Financial Times

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