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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Jan 21

Source: Reuters - Thu 21st Jan 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 34-35 points or 0.6 percent higher on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, rallying following sharp falls on Wednesday after Wall Street ended weaker but off session lows and some Asian markets recovered as well.

The UK blue chip index closed 92.34 points lower in the previous session at 5,420.80 as disappointing results from top U.S. banks and more signs of fiscal tightening in China hurt banking and commodity stocks.

Those China tightening fears were put in focus by data released overnight which showed China's economy expanded by 10.7 percent between October and December, compared with a year earlier, below market expectations of 10.9 percent but up sharply from 9.1 percent in the third quarter.

Hong Kong and China stock markets fell back as the data reignited fears that Beijing would take more measures to keep the economy from overheating, but Japanese and Korean both put in late rallies to close in positive territory.

On Wall Street, on Wednesday, the Dow suffered its worst drop of 2010 shedding 1.1 percent but finished above session lows thanks to a late afternoon rally.

The main domestic macro interest on Thursday will be December government borrowing numbers, due at 0930 GMT, while January's CBI industrial trends survey is scheduled for releaseat 1100 GMT.

Across the Atlantic, aside from the latest weekly jobless claims, due at 1330 GMT, investors will have December leading indicators and January's Philly Fed index to interpret at 1500 GMT.

Another flood of U.S. earnings reports will also attract attention on Thursday, including results from Goldman Sachs, American Express, Xerox, and - after the Wall Street close - Google

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Dlr surges, Asia stocks slip on China data

* US STOCKS-Wall St drops on China, IBM; eBay jumps late

* Nikkei gains 1.2 pct as techs lead on yen, China eyed

* FOREX-Euro hits 5-mth low, Aussie steady after China data

* TREASURIES-Bonds do better on battered stocks

* Oil steady below $78 after China growth data

* PRECIOUS-Gold trims early gains as dlr rises on China data

* METALS-Shanghai copper down, data triggers tightening fear

UK stocks to watch on Thursday are:


The food retailer issues a trading update.


JPMorgan Chase is in exclusive talks to buy the RBS Sempra commodities joint venture, which is 51 percent-owned by RBS, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, in a deal expected to be worth about $4 billion.


U.S. private company Blackstone has applied for a British banking licence, sources familiar with the matter said, making it the latest major player looking to capitalise on a sector in disarray.


Canada's Husky Energy Inc and BP are ready to proceed with their C$2.5 billion ($2.4 billion) Sunrise oilsands project, the partners said on Wednesday, after cutting costs for the development by more than C$1 billion.


The transport operator could be fined or stripped of a key London rail franchise if it fails to improve the service,Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis told the Financial Times on Thursday.


The housebuilder has appointed JP Morgan Cazenove to advise on a potential $1 billion <600 million pounds) flotation of its recovering North American business, The Daily Telegraph said.


A year-long investigation into AB Foods-owned fashion retailer Primark's working practices by the Ethical Trading Initiative has found that the retailer had "significantly rampedup" ethical trading operations in the past year but still has "agreat deal of work to do", The Daily Telegraph said.


BSkyB is understood to have held talks with potential buyers of its 17.9 percent shareholding in ITV, and may opt for a quicksale if it loses its legal fight to retain the stake, with a Court of Appeal decision due on Thursday, The Guardian said.


The multi-utility issues a trading update.


The bourse operator issues a trading update.

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