LONDON Feb 19 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening
12 to 14 points lower, or down by 0.2 percent, on Wednesday, according to
* Futures for the blue-chip index were almost unchanged by 0725 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 60.43 points, or 0.9 percent higher, at
6,796.43 in the previous session, gaining in nine of the last 10 sessions.
* STANDARD CHARTERED - The bank is seeking buyers for its Hong Kong
consumer finance business, in a deal worth $500 million to $700 million, people
familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - The oil major has sold its downstream
Australian assets to Dutch-owned oil trader Vitol and the Abu Dhabi
Investment Council for about A$2.4 billion ($2.2 billion), The Australian
Financial Review reported on Wednesday.
* SPORTS DIRECT - Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer posted a
14.6 percent rise in profit in its Christmas quarter and said it was confident
of hitting its full-year target.
* ROYAL MAIL - Britain's second-biggest postal company TNT Post is
to double its London workforce to 2,000 this year as it steps up its challenge
to the dominance of Royal Mail.
* VODAFONE GROUP - Vodafone said on Wednesday shareholders would
receive 0.026 shares in Verizon Communications for each Vodafone share
they own as part of their payout for the $130 billion sale of the group's stake
in Verizon Wireless.
* BARCLAYS - The U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday released the final
version of tight new capital rules for foreign banks, giving them a year longer
to meet the standard and applying it to fewer banks than in a first draft.
* Brent crude held above $110 a barrel, underpinned by geopolitical concerns
in Africa and Venezuela, while U.S. oil traded near a four-month high amid
strong winter demand.
* London copper edged down, snapping three sessions of gains, as worries
about tighter monetary policy in China and weaker growth in the United States
kept a lid on prices.
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