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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Sept 21

Source: Reuters - Mon 21st Sep 2009

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat on Monday, with financial bookmakers calling the market down 4 points to up 3 points as a drift lowerby Asian markets offsets modest gains from Wall Street on Friday.

The UK blue-chip index closed 8.94 points firmer on Friday at 5,172.89, another 12-month closing high, having also reached a new 2009 intraday peak of 5,183.88.

Overall, the UK blue-chip index gained over 3 percent last week fuelled by hopes that the global recession could be over after hints made by U.S. central bank boss Ben Bernanke.

The FTSE 100 has gained around 21.5 percent so far this quarter and is on track to post its best percentage quarterly gains since the index was launched in 1984, but it is still down 4.5 percent from a year ago, just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The financial crisis has helped to rebalance the global economy but more structural changes are needed to prevent imbalances from returning once the recovery is underway, the Bank of England said on Monday.

In a paper in its Quarterly Bulletin, the central bank noted that global imbalances had contributed to the financial crisis and the resulting recession as large capital flows had contributed to a misallocation of funds and mispricing of risk

Meanwhile, asking prices for homes in England and Wales are on average 1.5 percent lower this month than a year ago, withthe available stock at its lowest for 18 months, property website Rightmove said on Monday.

The average asking price rose 0.6 percent in September to223,996 pounds ($366,100), after a 2.2 percent fall in August, as the lack of supply put upward pressure on the market. No other UK economic pointers are due for release on Monday, and there is nothing much scheduled all week on the domestic front, aside from the interest rate and quantitative easing vote outcome from this month's Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting, due on Wednesday.

Investors' main macro focus this week will be on the two-day Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, which kicks off on Tuesday, with a decision on interest rates due after the London close on Wednesday.

Ahead of that meeting, August U.S. lead indicators will be released this afternoon, with a 0.8 percent rise forecast, after a 0.6 percent gain in July.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he would push world leaders this week for a reshaping of the global economy inresponse to the deepest financial crisis in decades, at the two-day summit of leaders from the Group of 20 countries which begins in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks drift lower, China IPO pressure

* US STOCKS-Wall Street gains as key companies upgraded

* FOREX-Dollar steady in thin trade, sterling depressed

* TREASURIES-Prices cut before next week's auctions, FOMC

* Oil hovers near $72 in thin trade, market seeks fresh cues

* PRECIOUS-Gold below 18-month high; steadier dollar weighs

* METALS-Copper off 1-week lows; equities, dollar drive

UK stocks to watch on Monday are:


RBS is talking to investors to gauge support for a 'modest' equity placement of 3 billion to 4 billion pounds ($4.91-6.54billion), a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday, with the share issue to be used to replace a small portion of the government's economic interest in the bank.


The mining giant plans to use part of a cash surplus of around $18 billion to fund a round of acquisitions, possibly involving some large rivals, The Wall Street Journal reported.


Xstrata's proposed "merger of equals" bid for Anglo American will reach a crucial stage in the coming weeks as analysts say the company is increasingly likely to walk away from the deal, while Anglo could force the matter by approaching the Takeover Panel, the Independent said on Monday.


The chief executive of Randgold, Mark Bristow says gold's recent rise through $1,000 an ounce is due to fundamentals such as dwindling mine supply, and not gold purchases by Barrick Gold to cover hedge positions.


Rolls-Royce is trying to fend off the loss of a major 31 billion pound engines deal due to U.S. defence spending cuts, the Daily Mail reported on Monday. The aerospace giant has been lobbying in Washington to prevent funding for its F-136 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project being axed, the newspaper said.


Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone, plans to revamp the group's marketing and image for the first time in four years, the Daily Telegraph said on Monday.


Morrison's is to overhaul its non-food offering in spring 2010 in an attempt to attract more foodies, with sources saying that the supermarket chain is planning to ditch up to ten of its home products categories and replace them with more kitchenware and cooking utensils, The Independent said on Monday.


The global luxury goods market is still challenging, but British fashion label Burberry is cautiously optimisticit will start to turn, its chief executive, Angela Ahrendts told Reuters on Friday.

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