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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Oct 21

Source: Reuters - Wed 21st Oct 2009

Britain's FTSE 100 is seen opening 2-11 points lower on Wednesday retreating for a second day, mirroring losses on Wall Street and in Asia as investors booked profits after sharp gains earlier in the month.

Britain's top share index is seen opening as much as 0.2 percent lower after it fell 0.7 percent to close at 5,243.40 on Tuesday, as weaker-than-expected U.S. data weighed on sentiment.

Investors will look to minutes from the last Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee interest rate setting meeting, released at 0830 GMT for further clues on the outlook for interest rates and quantitative easing.

Policy makers held interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent and kept a175 billion pound asset buying programme in place, as expected.

Britain is likely to return to positive growth in the second half of this year, but output will remain below its year-ago level for some time, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said on Tuesday evening.

The pound fell against the dollar after the comments.

Repairing Britain's public finances will require tax rises, spending cuts and increases to the retirement age far beyond those currently on the political agenda, the National Institution for Economic and Social Research said.

Online spending in Britain rose at its slowest annual pace in September since records began in 2000, hit by promotions from store groups, warm weather and disruption to the postal service, the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index showed.

Investors will also watch for further clues on the outlook for the UK economy from the CBI industrial trends survey for October, due out at 1000 GMT.

BAE Systems, British Sky Broadcasting, Smiths Group and Whitbread are all set to go ex-dividend, taking a total of 1.85 points off the index.

Wall St ends lower on profit taking; Yahoo up late

GLOBAL MARKETS-Profit taking halts Asia stocks rally

Nikkei edges lower as chip-linked shares fall

Oil falls 0.5 pct to below $79 as stocks weigh

Dollar steadies as profits booked on high yielders

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies at $1,050/oz, earnings eyed

Copper steady; investors weigh dollar, BHP news

TREASURIES-Edge up in Asia after bleak U.S. data

UK stocks to watch on Wednesday are:


A fundamental rethink of how the banking sector is structured and regulated is needed to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said on Tuesday.


National Express's largest shareholder Jorge Cosmen, supports a merger proposal by British bus and rail operator Stagecoach, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.


The world's largest miner has declared force majeure on some copper and uranium contracts after damage to a shaft at its Australian Olympic Dam mine, it said.

Separately, BHP Billiton said it had suspended opencast mining operations at its Khutala colliery in South Africa after a worker was killed in an accident


The company said on Tuesday that it had filed a third protest against theU.S. Army's decision on Aug 27 to award a $2 billion truck contract to OshKoshCorp.


The insurer is thought to be conducting a preliminary assessment of the likely benefits of a separate listing in Shanghai or Hong Kong, the Financial Times reported.


The IT firm has been accused of avoiding questions from "bearish" analystsat a meeting following their third quarter results, the Daily Telegraph reported.


South African trade union Solidarity will begin wage negotiations over a 10 percent pay rise demand with Lonmin, it said on Tuesday.


The retail group releases its first half results.


The confectionary group releases a trading update


The power station operator releases a trading update


Shares in commercial dispute investor Burford Capital start trading on the London Stock Exchange's junior AIM market following an IPO which raised 80million pounds, making it London's second-biggest IPO so far this year.

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