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UK Stocks - Factors to watch on Jan 15

Source: Reuters - Fri 15th Jan 2010

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 13-15 points on Friday, as forecast-beating results and a bullish margin outlook from U.S. chip major Intel fuelled hopes of a strong earnings season.

The index is seen by financial bookmakers as gaining as much as 0.3 percent higher, with investors waiting for quarterly results from Wall Street firm JP Morgan Chase & Co, due on Friday.

The UK blue-chip index closed 24.72 points higher at 5,498.20 on Thursday,snapping two sessions of declines as miners bounced back thanks to solid output numbers from Rio Tinto.

Strength in tech issues drove Wall Street higher on Thursday and after-hours Intel's fourth-quarter results roared past analysts' forecasts, boosted by higher prices and firm demand for server chips. No important UK data is due on Friday so investors will focus on December U.S. inflation numbers, due at 1330 GMT, with consumer prices seen rising 0.2 percent on the month, after a 0.4 percent increase in November.

Year-on-year U.S. consumer prices are seen up 2.8 percent last month, upfrom a 1.8 percent increase in November.

January's Empire State index will also be released at 1330 GMT, followed by December U.S. industrial output and capacity utilisation numbers at 1415 GMT, and the first reading for January's University of Michigan consumer sentiment index at 1455 GMT.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks pare gains after Intel boost

* US STOCKS-Tech sector leads Wall St higher

* Nikkei hits 15-month closing high, techs strong

* FOREX-Dollar and yen gain as risky positions cut

* TREASURIES-Up in Asia after solid auctions, data eyed

* Oil falls to $79 on concerns over US economy

* PRECIOUS-Gold slips below $1,140/oz as dlr reverses losses

* METALS-Copper steady; data, technicals worry

UK stocks to watch on Friday are:


The hedge fund manager issues a Q3 trading update.


Cadbury's chairman Roger Carr attacked Kraft Foods' 10.5 billion pound ($17.1 billion) hostile takeover bid and its past performance on Thursday, but was uncertain over the prospects for a rival bid from chocolate maker Hershey Co, in the British firm's final defence statement under UK Takeover Panel rules.


One of Xstrata's Australian coal operations will be shut by a 48-hour strike this weekend after workers rejected a wage offer, Xstrata said on Friday, adding that coal shipments would not be immediately affected.


BP and Canadian firm Husky will spend $400 million to upgrade their joint 155,000 barrel per day refinery in Toledo, Ohio, the companies said on Thursday.

Also, after weeks of work, crews have finished cleaning up the oil and oil-laced produced water that leaked out of a ruptured pipeline in November at the BP-operated Lisburne field in Alaska, company and state officials said Thursday.


Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC could be forced to pay more than 10 billion dollars to the U.S. government over the next 10 years as part of a levy on financial companies proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama, The Times said.


The Grosvenor House hotel, which has previously hosted events such as the CBI annual dinner, is to be put up for sale by the part-nationalised RBS, and is expected to raise between 600 and 700 million pounds, The Daily Telegraph said.


Vodafone has become the third mobile phone operator in Britain to offer the Apple iPhone to its customers, with a total of 50,000 units delivered on the first day of sales, serving as something of a relief to Vodafone which had feared losing out to rivals O2 and Orange, The Independent said.


Sources have suggested that Interactive Data Corporation, the financial information group majority-owned by Pearson, is sounding out potential buyers,the Financial Times said.


Claims made by the GMB union that Centrica plans to cut 5,000 jobs from its subsidiary British Gas have been dismissed as "untrue" by the company, The Daily Telegraph said.

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