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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Jan 27

Source: Reuters - Wed 27th Jan 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 17-22 points, or as much as 0.4 percent lower on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, reversing a late rally seen in the previous session following overnight falls on Wall Street and in Asia.

The UK blue chip index ended 16.54 points, or 0.3 percent higher on Tuesday at 5,276.85, snapping a four session losing streak as support for defensive issues, and early Wall Street gains, offset weakness in miners and banks.

But U.S. stocks slipped back late on Tuesday as worries over political and regulatory uncertainties returned to offset solid earnings and improved consumer confidence data. And Asian stocks hovered near two-month lows on Wednesday after a seven-day slide sparked by fears that China's heightened efforts to rein in soaring credit growth could hamper the global economic recovery.

Most investor attention on Wednesday will be directed towards the conclusion of the latest two-day Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, although adecision on U.S. interest rates and the central bank's quantative easing policyis not due until after the London close, at 1915 GMT.

The meeting is expected to yield few policy shifts, but investors will be looking for clues on how long the Fed will leave ultra-low interest rates and easy money policy in place.

Ahead of that decision, a batch of U.S. economic indicators should attract interest, with the latest weekly mortgage and refinancing indexes due for release at 1330 GMT, followed by December new home sales at 1500 GMT.

Another batch of U.S. earnings will also draw attention, with industrial groups Caterpillar and Boeing the main features on Wednesday.

And U.S. President Barack Obama makes his State of the Union speech tonight, which will also be closely watched by the market.

The only British macro data of interest on Wednesday will be the January CBI distributive trades survey, set for release at 1100 GMT.

Ex-dividend factors will knock 0.64 points off the FTSE 100 index on Wednesday, with contract caterer Compass Group the only company losing its payout attractions.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks struggle as China fears weigh

* US STOCKS-Market slips as caution offsets earnings

* Nikkei edges to 5-wk closing low; Toyota skids

* FOREX-Yen gains as jitters continue on China, before Fed

* TREASURIES-Prices edge up as political jitters sap stocks

* Oil slips below $75 as firm dollar offsets inventories

* PRECIOUS-Gold steady near $1,100/oz, Fed eyed

* METALS-Shanghai copper steady; dollar, policy fears weigh

UK stocks to watch on Wednesday are:


The India-focused miner issues a third-quarter output statement.

Also, The Church of England will this week make a decision about whether to retain its 2.5 million pound investment in the mining group, which has been accused of building a mine that breaches the rights of a tribe of native people in India, The Independent said.


The African-focused oil explorer issues a trading update.


BP Solar will boost its manufacturing deal with Jabil Circuit as it banks on increased solar demand in North America and Europe, the unit of BP said on Tuesday.

The bank's chief executive, Michael Geoghegan started work on Wednesday inhis new Hong Kong office, in a highly symbolic move as Europe's largest bank returns to its roots in the fast-growing Asian market.


Hewlett-Packard Co said on Tuesday it planned to appeal a court ruling after a company it bought in 2008 lost a long-running legal battle against pay-TV firm BSkyB


The insurer announced fresh reductions to payouts on endowment policies and pension plans on Tuesday, with 97 percent of its mortgage endowment policies now considered to be in the red zone, meaning there is a high risk that they would not pay off the mortgage they were bought to cover, The Guardian said.


Chris Bell, chief executive of the gaming company has called for a "more sensible approach" to the taxation of the bookmaking industry, The Daily Telegraph said.


Ahead of Thursday's AGM, the ongoing quarrel between the billionaire investor Joe Lewis and the pub operators' board has acquired a new dimension, after a fellow investor Elpida - an investment vehicle owned by the racing tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier - demanded that those on the board responsible for 500 million pounds of hedging losses repay the money, The Times said.


The struggling railway operator First Capital Connect, owned by First Group,has offered its regular passengers compensation for the past three months of delays and cancellations arising from a pay dispute, The Times said.

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