August 1, 2019 / 6:52 AM / 20 days ago

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

(Adds company news items and futures)

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were down 0.5% ahead of the cash market open on Thursday.

* LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: London Stock Exchange said it had agreed to buy financial information firm Refinitiv in a $27 billion deal that will transform the British company into a market data and analytics giant.

* BARCLAYS: Barclays has upped its dividend payment by 20% as it reported second-quarter profit in line with forecasts, thanks to a more resilient performance at its trading unit and an absence of regulatory fines that have blighted past earnings.

* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell’s second-quarter profit slumped to a 30-month low due to lower oil and natural gas prices and refining margins, falling far short of forecasts.

* RIO TINTO: Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto reported its biggest first-half profit since 2014 and declared a bumper dividend, as red-hot iron ore prices helped offset the impact of disruptions caused by a cyclone in late March.

* SCHRODERS: British asset manager Schroders said pretax profit fell 14% in the first half, hit by weak markets at the start of the year and outflows of client cash.

* RSA: British insurer RSA posted a 1% increase in its operating profit in the first half of the year, in line with forecasts, driven by strong performance in its general insurance business.

* CAPITA: British business services group Capita reported a 3.6% fall in first-half pretax profit, hurt by a drop in new orders as it strives to turn around its business amid a tough economic backdrop.

* KIER GROUP: British contractor Kier Group Plc warned its full-year revenue would fall by 100 million pounds ($121.20 million), and named RPC Group’s Simon Kesterton as its new finance chief.

* BRITAIN-EU: Britain is ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit by spending an extra 2.1 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) to make sure the country is ready to leave the European Union with or without a divorce deal at the end of October.

* PEARSON: British education company Pearson Plc on Thursday said it has notified customers of a data breach that resulted in unauthorized access to about 13,000 school and university accounts, mainly in the United States.

* STANDARD CHARTERED: Standard Chartered PLC exceeded forecasts with a 3% increase in its first-half profit, but flagged trade tensions and a monetary policy easing cycle as potential risks for the London-headquartered lender.

* WOODFORD: Neil Woodford’s suspended Equity Income Fund has breached a 10% cap on unlisted stocks after three of its holdings stopped trading on the Guernsey exchange, though a spokesman said it was taking action to remedy the situation.

* OIL: Oil prices skidded on Thursday, declining for the first time in six days, after the U.S. Federal Reserve dampened hopes for a string of interest rate cuts and Sino-U.S. talks ended without apparent progress towards resolving a bitter trade dispute.

* GOLD: Gold prices dropped to two-week lows on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut rates by 25 basis points as expected but tampered market expectations of a lengthy easing cycle, lifting the dollar to a two-year high.

* EX-DIVS: RELX will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 1.02 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations

* London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Wednesday from this week’s 11-month high, as wealth manager St. James’s Place, homebuilder Taylor Wimpey and mortgage lender Lloyds fell on the back of results, overshadowing an upbeat forecast from clothing retailer Next.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Siju Varghese in Bengaluru)

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