UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Wednesday, March 26
LONDON, March 26
LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening a touch higher on Wednesday, with June futures on the index up 0.2 percent at 0745 GMT. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue-chip index rose 84.50 points, or 1.3 percent, to 6,604.89 points on Tuesday, bouncing off of a six-week closing low after Kingfisher and easyJet posted updates that raised optimism about the outlook for corporate earnings this year.
* Four FTSE 100 stocks, including insurer Prudential, are due to go ex dividend on Wednesday, knocking between 3.27 and 3.64 points off the index.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP : Britain sold 4.2 billion pounds ($6.9 billion) of shares in Lloyds to cut its stake in the country's largest retail bank to 25 percent and put it on course for a complete exit in the next year at a profit.
* ASTRAZENECA : The British group has raised its bet on Japan's drug market by buying out the remaining stake held by Sumitomo Chemical in its Japanese unit AstraZeneca.
* SSE : The British utility said on Wednesday it will split its wholesale and retail divisions by March 2015, and will freeze its household energy prices until at least January 2016.
* STANDARD LIFE : The British insurer announced on Wednesday the acquisition of Ignis Asset Management from Phoenix Holdings for 390 million pounds ($643.71 million).
* LEGAL & GENERAL GROUP PLC : The British life insurance and pensions provider said on Wednesday it had won a 3 billion pound ($5 billion) bulk annuity contract with the ICI Pension Fund.
* TUI TRAVEL : Europe's biggest tour operator by revenues said bookings for its key summer period were progressing in line with its expectations, giving it confidence it would meet a target for annual profit growth of 7 to 10 percent.
* CARPETRIGHT : Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer, has warned on profit for the third time in almost six months, saying sales have slowed and it has yet to see any boost from an improving housing market.
* ASIA RESOURCE MINERALS (ARMS) : The coal miner on Tuesday announced its long-awaited split with the Indonesian family that helped found it, sparking bitter posts on Twitter between a family member and fellow ARMS founder Nat Rothschild.
* LADBROKES : The Daily Mail market report cited talk that Irish bookmaker Paddy Power and a British private equity firm are stalking the UK betting firm, with any offer seen in the 200 pence/per share region.
* SABMILLER : Shares in the world's second-largest brewer rose 5 percent on Tuesday. The Daily Express market report attributes the move to talk that a takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, is edging closer.
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 Francesco Canepa; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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