UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 17

LONDON, March 17 Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:53am EDT

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LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down by 8-10 points, or 0.2 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers.

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.4 percent lower at 6,527.89 points, taking the week's total losses to 2.8 percent, the biggest drop since June 2013.

* VODAFONE : The mobile group has agreed to buy Spanish cable operator Ono for 7.2 billion euros ($10.03 billion) in a deal that is set to be announced on Monday, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

* HOUSEBUILDERS: Britain plans to extend a scheme to encourage house building and develop a new town close to London, finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday, ahead of a budget announcement this week that will stick closely to his austerity programme.

* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : The state-backed lender is in advanced talks with the British government to buy back a "golden share," which would enable the lender to resume paying dividends, the Financial Times reported.

The paper also wrote Barclays, Citigroup and Royal Bank of Scotland have frozen bonuses across many of their foreign exchange trading teams as internal investigations scrutinise the possible manipulation of key currency benchmarks.

* LLOYDS BANK The bank said it will grow its lending to small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) by a further 1 billion pounds this year, seeing stronger growth prospects for smaller businesses as Britain's economic recovery takes hold.

* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL : The oil major said on Friday it had suspended third party exports of Nigeria's Forcardos grade of crude oil due to a leak in the pipeline which it is repairing.

* COPPER MINERS: Copper producers plan to expand mine capacity and output to record levels again this year, underlining potential additional downward pressures on prices, which have fallen steeply recently, the FT wrote on Monday.

* RIO TINTO : The miner has bucked the trend set by its FTSE-100 peers and decided not to put its audit contract on the market this year, despite increasing pressure from domestic and European rulemakers to do so, The Times reported on Monday.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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