UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 19

LONDON, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:58am EDT

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LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening little changed on Wednesday, or between 8 points lower and 2 points higher, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* Investors were unlikely to place large bets ahead of a policy update from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Fed is set to further trim its bond-buying stimulus and could rewrite its guidance on when it might eventually raise interest rates, with some expecting chairman Janet Yellen to scrap a numerical target on unemployment and adopt a more flexible stance.

* The UK blue chip index closed up 36.93 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,605.28 points - marking only the second time in the last eight sessions that it has ended in positive territory - after a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine, which some traders interpreted as being conciliatory in tone.

* British finance minister George Osborne will announce a pre-election budget on Wednesday that is likely to offer some tax relief to voters but will stick closely to his tough decade-long plan to fix the public finances.

* Stocks trading without the attraction of their latest dividend, namely Anglo American, British Land and InterContinental Hotels, will knock up to 2.44 points off the FTSE 100 index on Wednesday.

* UK CORPORATE DIARY:

SMITHS GROUP reports first-half results

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Francesco Canepa)

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