LONDON, March 18 Britain's FTSE 100 index is set to open
down 121 to 138 points, or as much as 2.1 percent on Monday, according to
financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please
* Shares were expected to fall sharply on Monday, with Cyprus' plan to tax
depositors rattling investors who are concerned that the move, if passed, could
set a precedent for future euro zone bailouts. In a radical departure from
previous aid packages, euro zone finance ministers want Cyprus savers to forfeit
a portion of deposits in return for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.
* Mining shares are likely to track a 1.3 to 2.1 percent slide in key base
metals prices on concerns related to Cyprus, which was working on a proposal to
soften the blow on the bank deposit levy on smaller savers ahead of a parliament
vote on Monday.
* Britain's main share index slipped 0.6 percent on Friday, with heavyweight
banks and energy stocks leading the losses after data from the U.S. failed to
boost prices past the five-year highs set in the previous session.
* British retailer Marks & Spencer was at the centre of fresh bid
speculation on Sunday, with takeover talk resurfacing after a year of weak
trading and a flat share price.
* Berkeley Group : British housebuilder Berkeley said it was on
track to return 568 million pounds ($859 million) in cash to shareholders and
was confident that its lack of debt and robust land holdings would help it meet
expectations for its full year.
* Royal Dutch Shell has allocated more than $1 billion to develop
Iraq's Majnoon oilfield in 2013, the head of the joint management committee for
the field said on Saturday.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by David Brett; Editing by Toni Vorobyova)