August 2, 2018 / 6:47 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Aug 2

(Adds company news items and futures)

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 26 points at 7,627 points on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.14 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* ROLLS-ROYCE: British engine-maker Rolls-Royce said that its 2018 results would come in at the upper half of its guidance range, after its civil aerospace and power systems businesses posted a stronger than expected first-half performance.

* LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: London Stock Exchange Group said on Thursday it was activating contingency plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union next March without a transition deal.

* BARCLAYS: Barclays second quarter pretax profits have almost trebled compared with a year ago, the lender said on Thursday, beating analysts’ expectations as it avoided the heavy restructuring and legal costs that blighted past results.

* COUNTRYWIDE: Countrywide Plc is raising 140 million pounds ($183.44 million) from an equity sale to cut debt as the British estate agent posted a 61.5 percent fall in half-year core earnings, in line with its expectations.

* MITCHELLS & BUTLERS: Mitchells & Butlers Plc’s quarterly comparable sales growth came in just under 1 percent, as the pub operator’s food sales dropped.

* SERCO: British outsourcing company Serco met first-half profit expectations on Thursday and kept its 2018 guidance while highlighting a focus on foreign contracts and cost-cutting to compensate for a “hiatus” in UK public outsourcing.

* VIVO ENERGY: Vivo Energy, Vitol’s Africa venture, reported an 8 percent rise in half-year core profit thanks to higher volumes, in its first set of results since it listed in May.

* MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS: Madame Tussauds-owner Merlin Entertainments said on Thursday it was too early to tell whether visits to its London attractions were recovering after the impact of last year’s militant attacks in Britain.

* AVIVA: Multi-line insurer Aviva on Thursday posted a 2 percent dip in first-half operating profit, hit by the impact of divestments, weaker profits in Canada and a significant increase in weather related claims.

* CENTAMIN: Centamin Plc’s quarterly core earnings and revenue dropped as production fell and costs increased, the Egypt-focused gold miner said on Thursday.

* INMARSAT: Inmarsat plc, the British satellite operator that rebuffed an approach from EchoStar last month, reported a 5 percent rise in second-quarter revenue and said it was well placed to continue to grow.

* RANDGOLD RESOURCES: Mali’s government has granted Randgold Resources a 50 percent corporate tax reduction for the next four years at its Gounkoto mine, the Africa-focused gold miner said on Wednesday.

* GOLD: Gold prices rose on Thursday, recovering from the previous session’s fall as the U.S. dollar edged lower against the Japanese yen.

* OIL: Oil prices rose on Thursday, steadying after losses over the past two days from a surprise increase in U.S. crude inventories and renewed concerns over trade friction between the U.S. and China.

* EX-DIVS: Micro Focus, Relx and Unilever will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 2.74 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations

* The UK blue chip index closed 1.2 percent lower at 7,652.91 on Wednesday, as mining and materials shares sold off on a slide in metals prices after the Trump administration threatened further tariffs on China.

* 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: * For Top News : (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru)

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