LONDON, March 7 Britain's FTSE 100 index
is seen steady on Friday, with futures flat by 0738 GMT
ahead of the cash market open.
* Investors were likely to avoid strong bets before U.S.
jobs data which could sway the near-term direction of the
market. U.S. hiring likely picked up enough in February to keep
the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus,
but the size of the gain is expected to be modest as the economy
struggles to break from the grip of severe winter weather.
Non-farm payrolls probably increased by 149,000 last month,
with the jobless rate holding at a five-year low of 6.6 percent,
according to a Reuters survey of economists.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 13.07 points, or 0.2
percent, at 6,788.49 on Thursday.
* Friday is a quiet day on the UK corporate earnings front,
with no blue chips scheduled to post earnings.
* RIO TINTO : The miner is considering buying the
outstanding 49.2 percent stake in Vancouver-based mineral
exploration and development company Turquoise Hill Resources it
does not already own, with speculation of a cash offer at around
$8 a share, according to the Daily Mail's market report.
* ESSAR ENERGY : The India-focused oil refiner rose
on Thursday on talk that the Indian billionaire Ruia brothers,
who already own 78 percent of the equity, are on the verge of
increasing their offer for the minority to 86 pence a share,
according to the Daily Mail's market report.
* BP : The oil and gas major said it had mothballed
plans to explore in Libya's Ghadames basin because of security
concerns, the latest in a series of companies to rethink their
projects amid growing instability.
* Permanent job placements in Britain rose at the fastest
pace in almost four years last month and salaries are picking up
too, a survey showed on Friday, in the latest sign of recovery
in the labour market.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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