LONDON Dec 11 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening
flat on Tuesday, with December futures on the index trading 2 points
lower at 5,919.5 points at 0726 GMT, unchanged in percentage terms. For more on
the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue-chip index closed up 0.1 percent, or 7.23 points higher, at
5,921.63 points on Monday - its highest close since finishing at 5,961.11 points
on March 19.
* HSBC : Europe's largest bank has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to
settle a multi-year U.S. criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the
British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
* WHITBREAD : The pubs and bars owner said its third-quarter sales
grew 14.4 percent year on year, or 3. 3 percent on a like-for-like basis.
* TULLOW OIL : The British oil explorer said on Tuesday it agreed to
acquire a Norwegian explorer Spring Energy for $372.3 million and it will also
begin a process to divest its gas assets in the southern North Sea.
* PETROFAC : The oil services firm's stock rose 1.2 percent to 1,706
pence on Monday, with the UK press attributing the move to takeover talk. The
Daily Express said Petrofac was a 2,800 pence per share target for U.S. rival
Schlumberger, while the Daily Mail cited a potential 2,500 pence per
share offer from oil field services company Halliburton.
* DIAGEO < DGE.L >: British drinks group said on Tuesday that its long-running
talks to buy world's no. 1 tequila maker Jose Cuervo had ended.
* ASHTEAD GROUP : The industrial equipment hire firm said on Tuesday
it reported a re cord pre-tax profit of 141 million pounds in the first half of
the year and proposed an interim dividend of 1.5 pence per share.
[ I D:nASM0003SI]
* IG G ROUP H OLDINGS : The spread-betting firm said on Tuesday its
half revenue was 169 million pounds, 14 percent lower than the prior year. It
said subdued markets had impacted client activity and second-half revenue were
likely to be similar to H1 if the levels of client activity seen in the first
six months of the year persists.
* ASOS PLC : The online fashion retailer maintained a heady rate of
sales growth in its first quarter, buoyed by strong trading both in its home
market and overseas. [ ID:nWLB2099]
* POLYMETAL : The Russian precious metals miner said on Tuesday it
agreed to acquire the Olcha gold and silver deposit in Russia from Ovoca Gold
* There is no important economic data out of the UK on Tuesday.
* Investors will keep an eye on the U.S. Federal reserve, whose two-day
meeting begins on Tuesday. The Fed is expected to announce it will buy $45
billion per month of longer-dated Treasuries beginning in January to replace the
current Operation Twist programme, which expires at the end of December.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)