UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Thursday, Jan 9

LONDON Thu Jan 9, 2014 1:57am EST

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LONDON Jan 9 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat to 4 points higher, or as much as 0.1 percent firmer, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.

* The UK blue chip index closed down 33.67 points, or 0.5 percent, at 6,716.16 on Wednesday, with retailer J Sainsbury falling after issuing a cautious outlook and tobacco lower on concerns over regulation in China.

* RETAILERS - Eyes will be on trading updates from Marks and Spencer and Tesco after Sainbury's update on Wednesday, which revealed its "best Christmas ever" but warned on consumer spending going forward.

* The Bank of England and European Central Bank meet on Thursday, with both central banks are likely to keep interest rates on hold. The ECB, however, is expected to remind markets its policy could ease further if inflation stays too low or money market conditions tighten.

* Minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's Dec. 17-18 policy meeting, released after European market close on Wednesday, showed many members of the policy-setting committee wanted to proceed with caution in trimming the asset purchases.

* UK CORPORATE DIARY:

GREGGS PLC TRADING

HAYS PLC TRADING

LAIRD PLC TRADING

MCBRIDE PLC TRADING

MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC Q3 TRADE

PACE PLC YRTRADE

RATHBONE BROTHERS PLC TRADING

RESTAURANT GROUP PLC TRADING

SIG PLC TRADING

TED BAKER PLC TRADING

TESCO PLC TRADING

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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