UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 19

LONDON Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:31am EST

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LONDON Feb 19 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 12 to 14 points lower, or down by 0.2 percent, on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers.

* Futures for the blue-chip index were almost unchanged by 0725 GMT.

* The UK blue chip index closed up 60.43 points, or 0.9 percent higher, at 6,796.43 in the previous session, gaining in nine of the last 10 sessions.

* STANDARD CHARTERED - The bank is seeking buyers for its Hong Kong consumer finance business, in a deal worth $500 million to $700 million, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - The oil major has sold its downstream Australian assets to Dutch-owned oil trader Vitol and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council for about A$2.4 billion ($2.2 billion), The Australian Financial Review reported on Wednesday.

* SPORTS DIRECT - Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer posted a 14.6 percent rise in profit in its Christmas quarter and said it was confident of hitting its full-year target.

* ROYAL MAIL - Britain's second-biggest postal company TNT Post is to double its London workforce to 2,000 this year as it steps up its challenge to the dominance of Royal Mail.

* VODAFONE GROUP - Vodafone said on Wednesday shareholders would receive 0.026 shares in Verizon Communications for each Vodafone share they own as part of their payout for the $130 billion sale of the group's stake in Verizon Wireless.

* BARCLAYS - The U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday released the final version of tight new capital rules for foreign banks, giving them a year longer to meet the standard and applying it to fewer banks than in a first draft.

* Brent crude held above $110 a barrel, underpinned by geopolitical concerns in Africa and Venezuela, while U.S. oil traded near a four-month high amid strong winter demand.

* London copper edged down, snapping three sessions of gains, as worries about tighter monetary policy in China and weaker growth in the United States kept a lid on prices.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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