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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on April 26

Source: Reuters - Mon 26th Apr 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 34 to 35 points, or as much as 0.7 percent higher on Monday, according to financial bookmakers, extending Friday's advance in tandem with pre-weekend strength on Wall Street and overnight gains in Asia.

The UK blue chip index ended 58.32 points higher, or up 1.0 percent on Friday at 5,723.65, having hit a one-month closing low on Thursday, snapping a two-session losing streak as a request by Greece to activate an aid package eased concerns over its debt crisis, and U.S. home sales rose sharply in March.

The FTSE 100 index lost 0.4 percent last week, its second straight weekly loss, but is still up 5.7 percent so far this year.

Greece's finance minister said on Sunday aid from the EU and IMF would arrive in time to avert what would be the euro zone's first sovereign debt default, although there were growing signs that a 45 billion euros ($60 billion) rescue package would have to be bigger.

U.S. stocks rose to a 19-month high on Friday helped by the home sales data which lifted energy issues, while drug stocks gained as Merck eased concerns about the impact of healthcare reform, saying its costs will be relatively low.

The main macro focus this week will be on the latest Federal Reserve rate decision, to be announced on Wednesday, although no change is expected to U.S.monetary policy for the moment.

House prices in England and Wales rose by an annual 1.8 percent in April, their fastest pace of increase since January 2008, property data company Hometrack said on Monday.

But monthly house price growth slowed to 0.2 percent in April from 0.3 percent in March on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, according to Hometrack's monthly survey of estimates of realistic selling prices from estate agents and surveyors.

No other important economic data are due for release on Monday and the corporate diary is pretty thin, however, investors will be gearing up for a bigbatch of UK company news in the coming week, with first-quarter results due from BP, BG Group, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, and Unilever, and a trading update scheduled from Barclays.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Greece aid hope helps euro, data stocks

* US STOCKS -Wall St hits 19-month high on healthcare, energy

* Nikkei breaks above resistance, copier stocks gain

* FOREX-Euro stable after Greek request; yen crosses gain

* TREASURIES-Dip before new supply and as equities rise

* Oil steady above $85; eyes Fed meet, US data

* PRECIOUS-Gold hits 1-week highs, Greece woes eyed

* METALS-Shanghai copper up 1.5 pct, LME gains on data

UK stocks to watch on Monday are:


RBS will bow to shareholder pressure this week and overhaul its executive pay scheme, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Also Wellcome Trust, Britain's largest medical research charity, has pulledout of the bidding process for the 318 high street branches and small business operations being sold by RBS, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.


The bank is weighing up its options for a sale of Selhurst Park football ground, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday, with an offer from fans of football team Crystal Palace falling short of the administrator's valuation., and it thought that Lloyds could attract a better offer from property developers.


The bank's president, Bob Diamond will be among those called to testify in acourt case in New York which will settle a dispute between Barclays and the estate of the defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers, The Times said on Monday.


The bank is seeking backing to direct any industry-wide bank levy into government-sponsored venture capital agencies, and has been touring Europe seeking support for its plan as part of a rearguard mission to alter the terms of the ongoing debate about bank regulation, The Financial Times said on Monday.


Manifest, the proxy voting agency, has called for its members to vote against the expected 6.7 million pound package awarded to Mick Davis, chief executive of the miner, The Sunday Telegraph said.


A potential dispute is brewing between the board and shareholders of British American Tobacco over the proposed appointment of Richard Burrows as its new chairman, The Times said on Monday.


The engineering and technology specialist has signed a $30 million deal with internet provider Row 44 to supply its broadband internet service to U.S. budget airline Southwest, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.


Britain's last remaining ports company, Forth Ports will this week ask the Takeover Panel to issue a "put up or shut up" deadline to its suitor, the Northstream consortium, The Sunday Times reported.


The property group has revealed that it will not increase the basic salaries of its senior directors for the second year running, The Independent on Sunday said.


The broadcaster is considering an acquisition of its rival Five as part ofnew chief executive Adam Crozier's expansion plans, The Sunday Times said.


The investment firm has been revealed to have fired one of its seniortraders, Mark Widowson, for irregular trading activities weeks before it suspended fund manager Guillaume Rambourg in order to conduct an investigation into his activities, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.


The coal miner posts full-year results.


The safe storage firm reports first-half results.


The medical equipment group delivers full-year results.


The web hosting firm issues a trading update.


The condoms to footcare group holds its annual general meeting.

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