UK Stocks -- Factors to watch on Feb 22
LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen dropping on Tuesday, extending Monday's sharp falls in tandem with tumbles overnight by Asian equities as markets anxiously watch the unfolding crisis in Libya.
Financial bookmakers expect the UK blue-chip index to open down 30-34 points, or 0.6 percent, having shed 68.19 points, or 1.1, percent on Monday to close at 6,014.80, its lowest closing level since Feb. 4.
Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the world's second-longest-serving ruler after the Sultan of Brunei, have fought an increasingly bloody battle to keep him in power.
World powers have condemned the use of force against protesters, with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accusing Libya of firing on civilians "from warplanes and helicopters".
Elsewhere in the Middle East, two Iranian ships entered the Suez Canal on Tuesday and were heading towards the Mediterranean, a canal official said, a move certain to anger Israel. [ID:nLDE71L01E]
Brent crude oil futures rose by more than $2 to as high as $108.18 per barrel in Asian trade on fears that violence in Libya could lead to wider supply disruptions from the OPEC country.
Gold, a traditional safe haven, rose to its highest in seven weeks, lifting silver to its strongest level since 1980.
With U.S. markets closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday, Asian stock markets fell on Tuesday as investors shunned assets seen as higher risk.
Japan's Nikkei average shed 1.8 percent, its first decline in seven days, slipping back from 9-1/2 month highs on profit-taking triggered by the turmoil.
Moody's Investors Service changed the outlook on Japan's Aa2 rating to negative from stable and warned that it may cut Japan's sovereign rating if government policies fall short of a comprehensive tax reform. [ID:nLJE7DH01H]
On Monday, the FTSE 100 volatility index .VFTSE, a barometer of investor anxiety, rose 17 percent. The higher the index, the lower investors' appetite for risky assets such as stocks.
There is little on the economic front to provide any respite on Tuesday.
UK January public finance figures are scheduled for release at 0930 GMT.
U.S. February consumer confidence data is due at 1500 GMT.
* GLOBAL-Oil jumps on Libya unrest; Asia shares fall [ID:nL3E7DM02G]
* Nikkei tumbles, Mideast unrest spurs profit-taking [ID:nTOE71L03O]
* FOREX-Dollar up on Middle East fears; NZ quake hits Kiwi [ID:nL3E7DM03A]
* U.S. oil hits 2-1/2 yr high as worries over Libya mount [ID:nL3E7DM07I]
* Gold slips from 7-wk high; silver hits 31-yr peak [ID:nL3E7DM03P]
* Shanghai copper edges down, tracking London [ID:nL3E7DM01Z]
UK stocks to watch on Tuesday:
BHP BILLITON (BLT.L)
The global miner is buying shale gas reserves from Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) for $4.75 billion, pitting itself for the first time against oil giants and China in the battle for the fast-growing energy source in North America. [ID:nSGE71K0AJ]
BP has lined up one of the biggest foreign direct investments in India to date with a $7.2 billion tie-up with the country's Reliance Industries (RELI.BO) to explore for deepwater oil and gas. [ID:nLDE71K12J]
RECKITT BENCKISER (RB.L)
Britain's Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has filed a high court legal claim, alongside 10 strategic health authorities, against household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser, The Guardian said.
TUI TRAVEL (TT.L)
Industry sources suggested that Germany's TUI AG (TUIGn.DE) has finalised the timing of its IPO of Hapag-Lloyd for April 15, which would enable it to buy the 44.9 percent of the UK unit it doesn't yet own, the Daily Mail market report said.
The business media group reports full-year results.
CRODA INTERNATIONAL (CRDA.L)
The specialty chemicals firm posts full-year results.
DRAX GROUP (DRX.L)
The power station operator posts full-year results.
The property firm posts first-half results.
The animal genetics firm reports first-half results.
AVOCET MINING (AVM.L)
The gold miner reports full-year results.
The industrial services group posts full-year results.
DECHRA PHARMACEUTICALS (DECP.L)
The specialist veterinary products group reports first-half results.
M J GLEESON GROUP (GLEG.L)
The housebuilder posts first-half results.
LONDON CAPITAL GROUP (LCG.L)
The financial services firm reports full-year results.
MORGAN SINDALL GROUP (MGNS.L)
The construction group reports full-year results.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times [PRESS/FT]
> Other business headlines [PRESS/GB]
(Reporting by Jon Hopkins; Editing by Erica Billingham)
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