UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 18
LONDON Feb 18 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 futures contract rose 0.3 percent on Tuesday, with forecast-beating results from miner BHP Billiton expected to buoy the overall market.
* The UK blue chip index closed up by 72.38 points, or 1.1 percent, at 6,736.00 on Monday.
* BHP BILLITON : Global miner BHP Billiton topped market forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and hinted it may launch a share buyback in August, despite a cautious outlook on Chinese growth.
* ESSAR ENERGY : The energy group said gross refining margins at Vadinar and Stanlow had fallen.
* FIRSTGROUP : British transport company FirstGroup said on Tuesday it had signed a deal with the government to continue to run London's First Capital Connect rail franchise for an additional six months ahead of a new bid round for the link.
* INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS : The hotels group posted higher annual profits.
* JOHN WOOD GROUP : British energy services company Wood Group reported on Tuesday an increase in full year profit of 14 percent, in line with the company's expectations, as strong performance in services and engineering offset weakness in its gas turbine division.
* DRAGON OIL : Turkmenistan-focused oil company Dragon Oil said it expected to drill 14-16 wells this year and around 20 wells in 2015, in a bid to meet its 100,000 barrels per day production target from next year.
* PENDRAGON : British car dealer Pendragon said it expected another strong year in 2014 after posting full-year 2013 pre-tax profits up 14 percent to 38.9 million pounds ($65 million) on Tuesday.
* POUNDLAND: British discount retailer Poundland plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange in March, joining a surge of store groups seeking flotations as the outlook for consumer spending improves.
* UK HOUSING MARKET: Britain's housing market is not overheating but interest rates will not remain at record lows indefinitely, Bank of England policymaker David Miles said in an interview on Monday.
* VODAFONE : Vodafone has lodged a complaint against Spanish rival Telefonica, alleging it is abusing its position in Spain to reduce competition for telecoms, Internet and television services.
* LLOYDS : U.S.-based Anchorage Capital Group has acquired about 80 million pounds ($134 million) of debt from Lloyds Banking Group for a controlling stake in New Century Care (NCC), one of Britain's biggest care home groups, Sky News reported on Monday.
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 For more information on Top News visit