UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Tues Dec. 11
LONDON Dec 11 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat on Tuesday, with December futures on the index trading 2 points lower at 5,919.5 points at 0726 GMT, unchanged in percentage terms. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue-chip index closed up 0.1 percent, or 7.23 points higher, at 5,921.63 points on Monday - its highest close since finishing at 5,961.11 points on March 19.
* HSBC : Europe's largest bank has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a multi-year U.S. criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
* WHITBREAD : The pubs and bars owner said its third-quarter sales grew 14.4 percent year on year, or 3. 3 percent on a like-for-like basis. [ ID:nWLB2100]
* TULLOW OIL : The British oil explorer said on Tuesday it agreed to acquire a Norwegian explorer Spring Energy for $372.3 million and it will also begin a process to divest its gas assets in the southern North Sea.
* PETROFAC : The oil services firm's stock rose 1.2 percent to 1,706 pence on Monday, with the UK press attributing the move to takeover talk. The Daily Express said Petrofac was a 2,800 pence per share target for U.S. rival Schlumberger, while the Daily Mail cited a potential 2,500 pence per share offer from oil field services company Halliburton.
* DIAGEO < DGE.L >: British drinks group said on Tuesday that its long-running talks to buy world's no. 1 tequila maker Jose Cuervo had ended.
* ASHTEAD GROUP : The industrial equipment hire firm said on Tuesday it reported a re cord pre-tax profit of 141 million pounds in the first half of the year and proposed an interim dividend of 1.5 pence per share. [ I D:nASM0003SI]
* IG G ROUP H OLDINGS : The spread-betting firm said on Tuesday its half revenue was 169 million pounds, 14 percent lower than the prior year. It said subdued markets had impacted client activity and second-half revenue were likely to be similar to H1 if the levels of client activity seen in the first six months of the year persists.
* ASOS PLC : The online fashion retailer maintained a heady rate of sales growth in its first quarter, buoyed by strong trading both in its home market and overseas. [ ID:nWLB2099]
* POLYMETAL : The Russian precious metals miner said on Tuesday it agreed to acquire the Olcha gold and silver deposit in Russia from Ovoca Gold Plc.
* There is no important economic data out of the UK on Tuesday.
* Investors will keep an eye on the U.S. Federal reserve, whose two-day meeting begins on Tuesday. The Fed is expected to announce it will buy $45 billion per month of longer-dated Treasuries beginning in January to replace the current Operation Twist programme, which expires at the end of December.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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