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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Feb 15

Source: Reuters - Mon 15th Feb 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening a touch higher on Monday, recovering after a decline in the previous session after U.S. stocks ended weaker but off lows on Friday, with trading set to be thin as Wall Street will be closed for a public holiday on Monday.

According to financial bookmakers, the UK blue chip index is set to open 6-9 points, or 0.2 percent firmer, after it closed down 19.03 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,142.45 on Friday.

This week's main attention is likely to remain focused on the crisis in the euro zone. EU finance ministers may discuss a financial support package for Greece on Monday, but they will not reveal details because there is a need to keep the market guessing, an EU source said on Friday.

 EU leaders promised to help Greece at a summit on Thursday, but did not give details on what they could do to support the Mediterranean state in tackling a deficit and debt crisis.

Japan's economy grew faster than expected in the fourth quarter, spurred bya rebound in domestic demand and corporate investment, but the fading impact of government spending likely points to a slowdown in 2010.

Property website Rightmove said on Monday that asking prices for houses in England and Wales are 6.1 percent higher than a year ago after the biggest monthly increase since April 2007.

Monday will be a quiet day in terms of economic data, with nothing else scheduled for release in the UK.

U.S. markets are closed for the President's Day Holiday, while many Asian exchanges are closed for the Chinese New Year.

In terms of UK data later in the week, Tuesday sees the release of inflation data, while on Wednesday unemployment data and the MPC minutes are due. Public finances for January, a key month for tax revenues, will also be of interest - these are due on Thursday.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. Industrial Production data for January is due on Wednesday, while January's U.S. Producer Price Index and U.S. Consumer Price Index are due on Thursday and Friday respectively.

 UK banks will be in focus as Barclays kicks off the sector's reporting season this week with full-year results on Tuesday.

Britain's main opposition Conservative Party, favourite to win a national election to be held this year, rejected a newspaper report on Saturday which said it was considering raising the VAT sales tax to as high as 20 percent.

* Doubts over Greece and China haunt stocks, euro

* Dow, S&P 500 dip on China lending curb; Nasdaq up

* Nikkei drifts down as China worry outweighs GDP rise

* Euro on defensive as worries about Greece persist

* TREASURIES-US bond prices rise on Dubai, China worries

* Oil steady above $74; Japan growth eases demand concern

* Gold steady around $1,095 in holiday-thinned trade

* Copper ticks higher in light trade

UK stocks to watch on Monday:


The trio of top executives at the bank, including chief executive John Varley and president Bob Diamond, will forgo a cash bonus for 2009, a person familiar with the matter said.


The bank said no decision has been made on executive bonuses, in response to press reports that chief executive Eric Daniels could earn close to 10 million pounds ($15.7 million) for 2009.


Britain's largest bailed-out bank, is calling for business lending commitments to be lowered in 2010, said the Times.

Also, two high-ranking RBS executives have resigned, citing frustrations over the state-backed bank's bonus policy, said the Daily Telegraph.


The oil major is in talks to pay about $1.2 billion for a majority stake ina privately held Canadian company with large reserves of oil-rich sand deposits,the Sunday Times reported.

Also, BP reported unplanned flaring at its 265,000 barrel per day (bpd) Los Angeles-area refinery in Carson, California, on Saturday, according to notices filed with California pollution regulators.


The oil major could sell more than $10 billion of assets including its NorthSea oilfields operations, the Sunday Times reported, citing sources close to the company.


ICAP's chief executive Michael Spencer will resign as treasurer of the Conservative Party to focus on struggling divisions at the world's biggest interdealer broker, the Sunday Telegraph reported.


BAE Systems will lose out on a lucrative contract for the U.S. Army after the defence specialist's challenge of an earlier award to a rival was rejected, said the Financial Times.


Pan-European trading platform Chi-X Europe, Europe's third-biggest trading platform after just three years in business, said it was sticking to its strategy of low fees for at least another three years.


The support services company is looking to raise its bid for rival Mouchel to around 300 pence per share, the Independent on Sunday said.


The new National Express chief executive Dean Finch is due to take up his role on Monday, said the Financial Times.


The outdoor clothing retailer has sold its Mambo surf brand to Lush Cosmetics' chief executive Andrew Gerrie for 800,000 pounds, said the Times.


The software company posts full-year results.


The company posts full-year results.

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