UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Friday Dec. 20

Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:28am EST

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LONDON Dec 20 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 is seen opening up on Friday, with futures on the index firming 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* The FTSE 100 closed up 1.4 percent, or 92.62 points, at 6,584.70 points to bring its gains since the start of 2013 to around 12 percent, helped by a rise in pharmaceutical stocks and by a pledge from the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.

* The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Friday and maintained its view that the economy is recovering moderately, encouraged by growing signs that the benefits of its massive stimulus are spreading through broader sectors of the economy.

* China's benchmark money market rate climbed to a six-month high on Friday despite attempts by the central bank to calm sentiment, showing signs of a scramble for cash reminiscent of a massive crunch that occurred in June.

* BAE SYSTEMS - The defence company said after market close on Thursday that the United Arab Emirates had quit talks to buy Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and it had not yet reached a final agreement with Saudi Arabia over a jet deal.

* SERCO - Embattled outsourcing company Serco is braced for a challenging year ahead despite confidence it has done enough to be given the all-clear in January to sign new contracts with the British government, its chairman said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

* BG - The natural gas and oil firm moved to declare the commercial viability of its Carioca oil-field on Friday.

* WPP - WPP's Mindshare is to buy Masscom, a Philippines-based media agency.

* AVOCET MINING - Africa-focused gold miner Avocet Mining warned on Friday that production for 2013 would fall short of its guidance after a breakdown-hit fourth quarter which means the group will require additional funding next year.

* HAMMERSON, AVIVA - Hammerson and Aviva Investors, who own Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough in a joint venture, have exchanged contracts to sell the freehold of the centre to Invesco Real Estate for 202 million pounds ($330.56 million).

* RENTOKIL - Rentokil is to acquire the pest control division of Green Compliance for 4 million pounds in cash.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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