May 14, 2014 / 6:07 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on May 14

(Adds company news, futures price)

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen inching higher on Wednesday, with the June futures contract up 0.1 percent by 0637 GMT ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip index hit its highest closing level since December 1999 on Tuesday, rising 21.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,873.08 points.

* Bank of England Governor Mark Carney faces a difficult balancing act on Wednesday when he will try to acknowledge Britain’s strong economic recovery without adding to expectations of an early rise in interest rates.

Britain is set for economic growth of about 3 percent this year, faster than any other big, industrialised nation, and house prices have jumped by about 10 percent over the past 12 months, raising fears of a new property bubble.

The BoE is due to publish new economic forecasts and Carney will hold a news conference at 0930 GMT.

An hour earlier, data is expected to show unemployment fell again in the three months to March and earnings outpaced inflation as the labour market gathered more strength.

* ASTRAZENECA : Pfizer faces calls to extend its commitment to UK jobs and research to least 10 years as the U.S. drugmaker’s boss prepares for a second day of questioning from lawmakers over its plan to buy AstraZeneca.

* BHP BILLITON : BHP Billiton is in talks to sell its nickel business based in Western Australia, the top global miner said, in line with its aim of simplifying the company.

* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : Chinese police said they had charged the British former China head of the drugmaker and other colleagues with corruption, after a 10-month probe found they paid billions of yuan in bribes to doctors and hospitals.

* DIAGEO The spirits company launched 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) fixed rate bonds.

* CARD FACTORY IPO-CARD.L: The UK retailer has narrowed the price guidance on its London initial public offering to 225-240 pence, two sources familiar with the deal said.

* ADMIRAL GROUP : The British auto insurer posted a 7 percent drop in turnover in the first three months of 2014 despite a 6 percent increase in customers, amid sliding UK car insurance premiums.

* BRITISH LAND COMPANY : British Land, developer of London’s “Cheesegrater” skyscraper, posted a 15.4 percent jump in full-year net asset value, helped by the country’s commercial property market recovery and moves to re-shape its own real estate portfolio.

* COMPASS GROUP : Compass, the world’s biggest catering firm, said it would return 1 billion pounds ($1.68 billion) to shareholders through a special dividend as it posted a 5.7 percent rise in first-half profit.


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit ($1 = 0.7296 Euros) (Reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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