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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Thursday June 10

Source: Reuters - Thu 10th Jun 2010

Britain's top share index is seen opening lower on Thursday, reversing Wednesday's rally after a late fall back overnight on Wall Street, and ahead of interest rate decisions from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank later in the session.

The FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 63-68 points, or as much as 1.3 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.

The UK blue-chip index ended 57.71 points, or 1.2 percent,higher on Wednesday at 5,085.86, snapping a three-session losing streak that had knocked 3.5 percent off the index since disappointing U.S. jobs data on Friday.

U.S. blue chips were strongly higher by London'sclose, but they fell back sharply in another late-day roller-coaster ride, dragged down by energy shares as the U.S.probe of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico deepened.

New York-traded shares of BP fell 15.8 percent on growing worries about the costs the energy giant will have to assume because of the spill.

Asian stocks rose on Thursday as China's official data confirmed faster growth, with exports up 48.5 percent in May from a year earlier and imports up 48.3 percent.

However, with European markets on Wednesday having already reacted to reports that Chinese exports would be up about 50 percent in May, any underlying benefits from Asia's advance are likely to be limited.

Interest rate factors will be on investors' minds on Thursday with the latest Bank of England rate decision due at midday, the first to be made after the formation of the new British coalition government, although no change is expected tobe made to monetary policy.

The European Central Bank will also announce its interest rate decision on Thursday, with the status quo expected to be maintained as well when an announcement is made at 1145 GMT.

No important domestic economic data is due for release ahead of those interest rate announcements.

After them, across the Atlantic, following on from last Friday's May non-farm payrolls disappointment, investors will watch the latest weekly initial jobless claims numbers for another indication of the strength of the U.S. economy, due at 1230 GMT together with April international trade data.

May's U.S. Federal budget will be released after the London close, at 1800 GMT.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks rise, euro steady on China data

* US STOCKS-Wall St slides as BP plunge hurts sentiment

* Nikkei comes off 6-mth lows, helped by China data

* FOREX-Aussie jumps after strong data, giving euro a lift

* TREASURIES-Bonds eke out gains in late stock sell-off

* U.S. crude reverses loss, rebounds on China exports data

* PRECIOUS-Gold regains strength after fall; outlook choppy

* METALS-LME copper drifts back, Shanghai up on China data

UK stocks to watch on Thursday are:


The oil major believes it may be heading for a showdown withthe White House over ever- increasing demands that it covercosts related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP source said on Wednesday.

Also, a takeover of BP by Petro China makes economic sense and will help transform the Chinese oilcompany into a global oil champion, Standard Chartered said in a research note on Thursday.


Britain's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is set to announce an inquiry into equity underwriting by the investment banking industry, a spokesman for the consumer watchdog said on Wednesday.


The head of Standard Chartered's South Korean unit Richard Hill said the Asia-focused bank was seeking organic growth inthe country, ruling out interest in acquiring Korea Exchange Bank.


GlaxoSmithKline received a second rebuff in as many daysfrom Britain's NICE on Thursday when the healthcare cost watchdog ruled its platelet-boosting drug Revolade was not worthusing on the state health service.


The global energy group has agreed a deal to move from its current UK headquarters on London's South Bank to Canary Wharf, The Daily Telegraph said.


Cable network owner Virgin Media has mounted alegal challenge against broadcasting regulator Ofcom, over its leniency with rival BSkyB on price setting for the market inPremier League football coverage, The Financial Times said.


The fund manager is seeking to develop an alternativeproposal to the merger between F&C Commercial Property Trust, which is managed by its majority-owned subsidiary F&C Reit and UK Commercial Property Trust, which is managed by Ignis, The Financial Times said.


The bank has partnered with the housebuilder Bovis to provide high loan-to-value mortgages without the relatively steep costs associated with riskier lending, The Financial Times said.


Ben Gordon, chief executive of the maternity and babywear retailer, received a total remuneration of 6.5 million pounds in 2009, up from 1.4 million pounds on the previous year, The Daily Telegraph said.


The retailer issues a trading update.


The bicycles to car parts retailer posts full-year results.


The electronic components distributor reports first-quarter results.


The households products group issues a trading update.


The logistics firm reports full-year results.


The voucher group posts full-year results.


The advertising agency holds its annual general meeting.


The pizza restaurant firm holds its annual general meeting.


The oil & gas explorer holds its annual general meeting.


The gold explorer holds its annual general meeting.


The property investor holds its annual general meeting.

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