LONDON Feb 28 Britain's leading share index is expected to open
up 37 to 43 points, or as much as 0.7 percent, on Thursday, extending a rebound
from the previous session. For more on the factors affecting European stocks,
please click on
* U.S. Federal Reserve bank chairman Ben Bernanke sparked a rally on
Wednesday, following a sharp sell-off at the start of the week, after he
defended the Fed's asset purchases programme and downplayed signs of internal
* European Central Bank head Mario Draghi issued a similarly dovish set of
* The FTSE 100 index closed up 55.44 points, or 0.9 percent, at
6,325.88 points on Wednesday, recovering around two-thirds of Tuesday's 85 point
drop suffered after Italian elections ended in a stalemate.
* British consumer morale held steady in February, maintaining January's
gains, though sentiment remained low by historic standards, a survey by
researchers GfK NOP showed on Thursday. GfK's headline consumer confidence index
came in at -26, matching January's reading, better than in December and in the
same month a year ago and beating analysts' expectations of -27.
* No other important British economic data will be released on Thursday, so
investors will eye a batch of U.S. economic pointers later in the day.
* U.S. preliminary fourth-quarter real GDP data will be unveiled at 1330
GMT, together with the latest weekly U.S. initial jobless claims.
* Royal Bank of Scotland : The part-nationalised bank said it had
moved closer to being in a position for the government to start selling its 82
percent stake in the bank.
RBS made an operating profit of 3.5 billion pounds ($5.24 billion), up from
1.8 billion the year before and the highest since its bailout in 2008.
* British American Tobacco : The world's second-biggest cigarette
maker, reported a 7 percent rise in earnings in 2012, broadly in line with
* Reed Elsevier : The Anglo-Dutch publishing and events group
reported full-year results in line with forecasts and said it expected further
revenue and earnings growth this year.
* Kazakhmys : The London-listed Kazakh miner posted a drop of more
than 30 percent in its 2012 core profit, excluding the impact of its share in
rival ENRC, as weak prices hit revenue and failed to offset rising
* International Airlines Group : The owner of British Airways and
Spain's Iberia, swung to a full-year operating loss, hit by its underperforming
Spanish unit and higher fuel costs.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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