UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 20

Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:30am EDT

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(Adds company news items, futures price)

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 futures contract fell 0.6 percent index on Thursday, tracking a drop in global equities after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated it could raise interest rates much earlier than expected. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip FTSE 100 index fell by 0.5 percent, or 32.15 points, at 6,573.13 points on Wednesday, with insurers and gambling companies impacted by measures unveiled in Britain's budget which threatened their profits.

* U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: The U.S. Federal Reserve will probably end its massive bond-buying program this fall, and could start raising interest rates around six months later, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday, in a comment which sent stocks and bonds tumbling.

* COPPER: London copper fell on Thursday but remained well above 3-1/2 year lows hit the in the previous session, after the Fed chair signalled interest rates could rise next year.

* NEXT : Next, Britain's second-largest clothing retailer, met guidance with a 11.8 percent rise in year profit driven by growth at its Directory internet and catalogue business.

* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline said it was disappointed by some of the results of a stage III trial for a lung cancer treatment but would continue with it as there could still be a group of patients who may benefit.

* LLOYDS : Part-nationalised UK bank Lloyds said it had sold a real estate loan portfolio for 280 million euros.

* ARM : Chip designer ARM Holdings expects the value of ARM-based chips in smartphones and mobile computing application processors to reach $20 billion by 2018 from $13 billion last year.

* UNITED UTILITIES : United Utilities said it was expecting higher operating profits for 2013-2014.

* PREMIER FARNELL : Premier Farnell, a distributor of small electronics and electronic parts, reported an 8 percent rise in full-year pretax profit, helped by strong sales in emerging markets in the second half of the year.

* MULBERRY : Bruno Guillon quit as chief executive of Mulberry on Thursday, less than two months after the British luxury fashion company issued a major profit warning which hammered its shares.

* CREST NICHOLSON : Housebuilder Crest Nicholson said forward sales for 2014 and beyond were up by 50 percent, compared to last year.

* BP : BP rejoined bidders for exploration and production leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and won 24 tracts after the U.S. government lifted a 16-month ban barring the company from new federal contracts.

* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : Royal Bank of Scotland must face a U.S. lawsuit seeking to force it to cover losses suffered by a bond insurer on a $1.15 billion securities offering backed by allegedly defective and fraudulent home loans.

* M&C SAATCHI : Advertising agency M&C Saatchi said full-year profit rose 8 percent as it brought new clients on board, and won new contracts from existing clients.

* TED BAKER : Fashion retailer Ted Baker posted a 35 percent rise in full-year profits.

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 Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Blaise Robinson)

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