May 17, 2018 / 7:02 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on May 17

(Adds company news items and futures)

May 17 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 4 points at 7,730 on Thursday, according to financial bookmaker, with futures down 0.23 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* THOMAS COOK: British holiday company Thomas Cook said it was on track to meet annual forecasts helped by strong demand for holidays to Turkey, Greece and Egypt, and as part of its plan to shift capacity away from parts of Spain where margins are lower.

* BRITISH LAND: Property company British Land on Thursday reported a 5.7 percent rise in full-year net asset value, helped by strong performance in its London office business.

* JUST GROUP: Specialist pensions provider Just Group posted a 43 percent rise in retirement income sales in the first quarter, helped by strong performance in company pension scheme business, it said on Thursday.

* 3I: Private equity firm 3i posted a 24 percent total return on shareholders’ opening funds in the year to end-March on Thursday, equivalent to 1.43 billion pounds ($1.94 billion), on its growing range of corporate and infrastructure investments.

* NATIONAL GRID: British power grid operator National Grid Plc’s full-year profit rose 3.5 percent, helped by growth in its U.S. business.

* ROYAL MAIL: Britain’s Royal Mail Plc reported a 2 percent rise in annual revenue on Thursday helped by parcel volume growth and its European parcels business GLS.

* MOTHERCARE: Britain’s Mothercare, the struggling mother and baby products retailer, said on Thursday it would ask investors for 28 million pounds ($38 million) as part of a restructuring plan that would see a further 50 stores close.

* OCADO: British online supermarket Ocado said U.S. retailer Kroger KR.N had agreed an exclusive deal to use its technology for grocery deliveries.

* BRITAIN GAMBLING: Britain will cut the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals to two pounds from the current 100 pounds($136) in a bid to curb problem gambling.

* BRITAIN FCA: Britain’s markets regulator on Thursday issued draft guidance to financial companies to ensure customers are treated fairly when contract terms and conditions are changed.

* ROYAL MAIL: New chief executive of Royal Mail, Rico Back, has been paid nearly 6 million pounds ($8.13 million) to buy him out of his contract in a move that could spark fury among former state-owned company's trade unions and shareholders.

* MOTHERCARE: Britain’s Mothercare Plc will shutter 50 stores in the UK and bring back Mark Newton-Jones as chief executive as part of a restructuring plan to be unveiled on Thursday.

* KPMG: KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC have drawn up contingency plans for a break up of their UK businesses, in case regulators force them to spin off their audit from their consulting businesses, FT reported.

* BETTING: The maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals in the UK will be dramatically slashed to just 2 pounds in a major victory for gambling campaigners.

* GOLD: Gold prices made modest gains on Thursday after touching their lowest level this year in the previous session, amid geopolitical uncertainty and a slightly weaker U.S. dollar.

* OIL: Oil prices firmed on Thursday, with Brent crude creeping ever closer to $80 per barrel, a level it has not seen since November 2014, as supplies tighten while demand remains strong.

* EX-DIVS: HSBC, Intertek Group, Tesco will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 6.77 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations

* The UK blue chip index closed 11 points higher at 7734.20 on Wednesday, as mining stocks rallied.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit * For Top News : ($1 = 0.7382 pounds) (Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru)

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