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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Feb 4

Source: Reuters - Thu 4th Feb 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 1 to 9 points higher, or up as much as 0.2 percent according to financial bookmakers, steadying after Thursday's falls but with investors likely to be cautious ahead of the latest Bank of England monetary policy decision.

The UK blue chip index closed 30.16 points lower on Wednesday, after a see-saw session, having reversed from an intra-day peak of 5,305.41.

The fall snapped a three session winning streak, with the blue chip index having previously gained 2.7 percent since ending near to a three month low last Thursday.

All eyes will be on the Bank of England announcement, due at midday,although the central bank is not expected to raise interest rates from the current record low level until October at the earliest, according to a Reuters poll of over 60 analysts.

A survey, taken during Jan. 26-28 found all 66 analysts saying the central bank would leave rates at just 0.5 percent and the economists polled were also virtually unanimous - with only two dissenters - in expecting the central bank to leave its bond purchase programme at the most recent cap of 200 billion pounds ($325 billion), pausing its quantitative easing policy.

After the BoE decision, the European Central Bank will also issue its latest pronouncement on monetary policy at 1245 GMT, with no changes also anticipated.

Once the central bank announcements have passed by, investors will refocus attention on Friday's U.S. December jobs report, with the latest weekly US jobless claims numbers set for release at 1330 GMT on Thursday seen as a precursor to the key monthly non-farm payrolls.Investors will also have Q4 U.S. productivity, December factory orders, and revised December Durable goods order numbers to digest on Thursday.

No important British economic pointers are due for release on Thursday.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares slide; Toyota sinks to low

* US STOCKS-Dow, S&P fall as Pfizer, Obama reforms weigh

* Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes down 0.46 pct

* FOREX-Dollar supported as kiwi, Aussie fall on data

* U.S. Treasury bonds fall as economic data brightens

* Oil steady near $77 as demand lags economic recovery

* PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near $1,110, dollar and data eyed

* METALS-LME copper pares losses, Shanghai down 3 pct

UK stocks to watch on Thursday are:


The oil group posts fourth-quarter results.


The drugs manufacturer reports fourth-quarter results.


The mobile phones heavyweight issues a trading update.


The Anglo-Dutch household products firm posts full-year results.


The insurer posts full-year new business numbers.


The world's biggest drinks company has rejected an offer from Swiss canton Zug to move its operation to Switzerland, The Daily Telegraph said.


The World Development Movement, together with environmental and human rights campaigners PLATFORM and People and Planet, have launched a new legal attack onthe Government's bailout of RBS, The Independent said.


The property group has agreed a 61 million pound buyout deal with Pension Corp to end its exposure to defined benefit pension schemes, The Financial Times said.


The British grocer Tesco, which has been accelerating its push into banking,is expected to take a 1.5 percent share of the UK retail banking market as earlyas 2013, propelling it into the top 10, according to Datamonitor.


Malcolm Walker, chief executive of frozen food chain Iceland, has labelled anew code of conduct for supermarkets "a complete waste of time", The Daily Telegraph said.


Telefonica's O2 mobile operator has sold 2 million Apple iPhones in Britain and seen good sales of the Palm Pre smartphone, helping it to enjoy a good end to 2009 in the UK.


The discount airline reports January traffic numbers.


The directories group posts third-quarter results.


The specialty chemicals firm delivers first-half results.


The Chiswick brewer issues a trading update.

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