UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Tues. Mar. 12
LONDON, March 12 (Reuters - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 20.05 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,503.63 on Monday, extending gains after the U.S. S&P 500 hit its strongest intraday levels since late 2007, continuing to draw comfort from Friday's forecast-beating U.S. jobs data.
* Data is thin on the ground on Tuesday, with January trade balance and industrial production figures for Britain due out at 0930 GMT.
* British house prices dipped further in the three months ending in February, but the outlook for the year ahead picked up strongly, a survey showed on Tuesday.
* China's refined copper production dropped 1.8 percent in February on the month as smelter operations slowed due to a dip in consumption over the Lunar New Year holiday, extending a fall in January from a record high, official data showed on Tuesday.
* ANTOFAGASTA : The copper miner sought to brush off investor worries about its growth options with a better-than-expected 2012 payout and special dividend on Tuesday, as profits ticked higher despite lower copper prices.
* RIO TINTO : The global miner has slowed progress of its multi-billion investment in Guinea's untapped Simandou iron ore deposit and slashed staff, government sources in the West African country said on Monday.
FRESNILLO : The precious metals miner reported profit for the year decreased by 19 percent to $845 million due to lower silver price, anticipated lower ore grades at the Fresnillo mine, and said the outlook remains challenging.
* UK BANKS: Britain will resist calls to impose far stricter rules on how much banks can leverage their capital for investments and lending, insisting that there is no need to do so before 2018.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : The UK lender is sounding out some of Britain's biggest investment firms on their appetite for a stock market listing of the bank's small business lending arm, investor sources close to the talks said.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP : The UK plans to sell 20 percent of wealth manager St James's Place to focus on core banking and respond to regulatory pressure to strengthen its capital.
* BP : The oil major's 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) Los Angeles-area refinery in Carson, California, completed the restart of a 102,500 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit over the weekend, sources familiar with operations at the refinery said on Monday.
* BRITISH LAND : The retail investment group sold a London office block Ropemaker Place for 472 million pounds and said it plans to raise 500 million pounds to fund investments through a placing of up to 89.7 million new ordinary shares.
* GEM DIAMONDS : reported full-year underlying EBITDA of $66 million compared with $167 million, last year but says the long term outlook for diamond industry remains robust.
CHAARAT GOLD HOLDINGS : The gold miner said talks with suitor Shandong Gold to restart with the new management team and significant progress has been made towards agreeing a transaction.
* IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES : The British chip designer said the signing of some new licences was being delayed due to structural changes at its chipmaking partners, particularly in Japan.
* IG GROUP : The spreadbetter reported revenue in the third quarter was 88.6 million pounds, 18 percent ahead of the prior year on increased activity as client sentiment improved in more conducive market conditions.
* PUNCH TAVERNS : The pubs and bars owner said second-quarter profit performance was in line with management expectations despite January trading being adversely impacted by weather. It added it is on track to meet its full year profit expectations and believes a consensual capital restructuring can be launched in the first halfof 2013.
* HOMESERVE sprang a leak on Monday with rumours that the group, which insures nearly 3 million customers in the UK against burst pipes, broken down boilers and problems with electrical appliances, is about to get hit with a hefty fine from the Financial Services Authority, according to the Daily Mail Market report.
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 David Brett)
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