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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Feb 16

Source: Reuters - Tue 16th Feb 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 12-17 points higher, or up as much as 0.3 percent on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers, extending Monday's advance with Wall Street closed in the previous session and many Asian markets remaining shut.

The UK blue chip index closed 25.02 points, or 0.5 percent higher on Monday at 5,167.47, but finished below the session peak of 5,194.29.

Wall Street's closure for the Presidents Day holiday, the Chinese New Year holidays in Asia, and the half-term holiday week for British schools curbed volume and interest on Monday and are likely to remain factors early on Tuesday.

However, firmer metal prices and a steadier oil price are expected to keep heavyweight commodity issues on the front foot, lifting UK blue chips.

Banks will be in focus as Barclays kicks off the domestic reporting season for the sector, and as Greek debt issues remain a focus.

Euro zone states urged Greece on Monday to announce more deficit-control steps by mid-March if needed, but said nothing new of last week's pledge to defend the country if debt market pressures spin out of control.

British inflation numbers will be the macro main focus on Tuesday, with economists predicting a 0.1 percent fall in January CPI, after a 0.6 percent rise in December, with the annualised number rising to 3.5 percent, up from 2.9 percent in December.

Investors will also have the February Empire State index and the latest National Association of Home Builders report in the afternoon to give some clues to the health of the U.S. economy.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge up, euro holds its ground

* Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes up 0.21 pct

* FOREX-Euro edges up but beset by persisting Greek worries

* TREASURIES-Inch down in Asia on stock rise; data eyed

* Oil steady above $74 as euro hovers near nine-month lows

* PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near $1,100/oz, Greece woes eyed

* METALS-Copper up for second day, tracks currencies

UK stocks to watch on Tuesday are:


The bank reports full-year results.


JPMorgan Chase & Co is close to a deal to buy the non-U.S. assets of commodities joint venture RBS Sempra - 51 percent owned by RBS - for about $1.7 billion, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources.


Investors are understood to be unhappy about HSBC's plans to award pay risesto its executive team, The Times said, with one notable area of contention the amount the bank plans to pay chief executive Michael Geoghegan, who relocated his office to Hong Kong at the beginning of this month.


The bank has moved to dismiss reports that its chief executive Eric Daniels is due a multi-million pound bonus, The Independent said.


The biofuel made from municipal waste that will account for a small proportion of British Airways' jet fuel from 2014 has yet to pass regulatory approval in Britain, according to the Guardian.


Virgin Media is believed to be in the final stages of an agreement over the sale of its television channels, Virgin 1, Bravo, Challenge and Living, to rival BSkyB, The Times said.


The hotels operator posts full-year results.


The Hovis bread to Branston pickle firm delivers full-year results.


The specialist materials firm posts full-year results.


The sausage skin maker reports full-year results.


The pizza restaurant group delivers full-year results.


The mobile money specialist posts first-half results.


The holidays firm issues a trading update.


The telecoms billing firm issues a trading update.


The care homes operator holds its annual general meeting.

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