LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is set to open higher, with futures on the index firming 0.4 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 53.66 points, or 0.8 percent, at 6,551.99 points, after U.S. jobs data was seen as strong but not too strong to threaten immediately the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus programme.
* China’s exports beat forecasts in November, adding to recent evidence of a stabilisation in the world’s second-largest economy as its leaders embark on an ambitious restructuring plan.
* HSBC - The bank is considering the flotation of up to 30 percent of its British retail and commercial banking arm, the Financial Times reported, a move that would help it cope with planned new rules that demand that British banks ringfence their retail arms.
* LLOYDS - The bank said on Monday it had agreed to sell a portfolio of British corporate real estate loans to an entity affiliated with Cerberus European Investments for 90 million pounds ($147 million) in cash. . The bank is also preparing to kick-start the sell-off of De Vere Group in a move that could push total write-offs on the taxpayer-supported bank’s backing of the hotel and leisure operator to almost 900 million pounds, the Times reported.
* TULLOW OIL - The British oil explorer said on Monday a well it drilled in Ethiopia had failed to find oil, saying the rig would move to a different area of the country to drill another well.
* TELECOMS - A radical EU reform of the mobile sector designed to bring down roaming charges by 2016 will be delayed by as much as three years, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
* JOHN LEWIS - Britain’s biggest department store group posted a 1.8 percent year-on-year rise in sales to 144.5 million pounds ($236.3 million) in the week to Dec. 7, helped by another record week for its online business. Last Christmas it reported record sales, while rivals, such as Marks & Spencer endured poor trading in a tough market.
* The number of UK companies that ask shareholders for more money is set to rise by almost a third in 2014 as a brighter economic outlook encourages more firms to expand their operations, a study showed.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - The construction company’s joint venture has won a 121 million pound contract with the Ministry of Defence to construct the new Defence College of Technical Training at the former RAF Lyneham airbase in Wiltshire.
* ANITE - The technology firm said that first half pretax profit fell 64 percent, adding that it expects a better performance in the second half of the year.
* KENTZ - The British engineer said it had agreed to acquire U.S.-based Valerus field solutions for $435 million in cash, to expand its engineering capability and presence in Latin America.
* ALBMARLE & BOND - The pawn-broker reported a drop in revene to 107.1 million pounds from 117.7 million pounds in 2012, and said it had received “expressions of interest” with no certainty that a takeover offer for the firm would be made. The Sunday Times had said that rival H&T Group was weighing an offer for Albemarle & Bond.
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