August 28, 2019 / 6:58 AM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Aug. 28

(Adds company news items and futures)

Aug 28 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 8 points lower at 7,081 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.05% ahead of the cash market open.

* THOMAS COOK: Thomas Cook Group said it had agreed the key commercial terms of a rescue package with investor Fosun Tourism, its banks and a majority of its bondholders.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug status to its severe asthma drug, Fasenra, to treat eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE).

* WH SMITH: British books, stationary and newspaper chain WH Smith Plc said its stores at airports and railway stations performed well in the year, helping it expect an annual outcome in line with its expectations.

* PETROFAC: Oilfield services provider Petrofac Ltd reported an 8.7% fall in first-half profit as fewer new orders poured in because of an ongoing probe into its contract dealings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

* TED BAKER: Britain’s Ted Baker Plc said it tapped Sojitz Infinity Inc as its Japanese retail license partner to help push the fashion retailer’s long-term growth plan in Japan.

* BP: The British oil major on Tuesday agreed to sell all its Alaskan properties for $5.6 billion to privately held Hilcorp Energy Co, exiting a region where it operated for 60 years.

* SHELL: The Dutch government will end production at the vast Groningen natural gas field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp, sooner than previously announced, Dutch Economy Minister Eric Wiebes said on Tuesday.

* ICAG: The UK Civil Aviation Authority is questioning ICAG-owned British Airways after it enraged thousands of travellers by telling them their flights had been cancelled after its pilots announced they would strike for three days next month.

* POLYMETAL: Russian gold and silver producer Polymetal may consider a special dividend as rising gold prices bring the company closer to achieving its target debt burden, Chief Financial Officer Maxim Nazimok said on Tuesday.

* GLENCORE: A World Bank tribunal has ordered Colombia to repay a $19 million fine it levied on Glencore’s coal mining subsidiary Prodeco but declined the company’s petition for $575 million in damages, the government said on Tuesday.

* HSBC: HSBC, said it will offer rebates and fee reductions for small- and medium-sized companies in Hong Kong, as the city’s economy struggles.

* BREXIT: Opposition parties said they would try to pass a law which would force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union and prevent a potentially chaotic no-deal exit at the end of October.

* BREXIT: Measures proposed by Britain to replace the “backstop” in its European Union Withdrawal Agreement do not yet come close to what is needed and it is possible that no solution exists, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday.

* BREXIT: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker by phone on Tuesday that there was no prospect of a Brexit deal unless the Irish border backstop was abolished, his office said.

* PENSIONS: Nearly a third of the companies in Britain’s FTSE 100 index of blue chip firms have agreed to cut pension payments for executives, the Investment Association said, amid increasing scrutiny of the gap between bosses’ and ordinary workers’ pensions in Britain.

* UK JOBS: British employers plan to hire more staff even as they remain pessimistic about the economy in the run-up to Brexit, according to a survey, which showed no sign of a weakening of the strong labour market.

* OIL: Oil prices rose, with U.S. crude gaining 1% after an industry report showed stockpiles in the United States, the world’s biggest oil user, fell more than expected, easing worries about economic growth due to the China-U.S. trade war.

* GOLD: Gold eased after rising over 1% in the previous session on fears of a possible recession, but held close to a more than six-year high on hopes of a rate cut by the U.S. central bank and uncertainties around the Sino-U.S. trade talks.

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.08% lower at 7,089.58 on Tuesday, as promises from Britain’s opposition parties to avert a no-deal Brexit led to gains for the domestically focused midcap index as well as blue-chip holiday companies and airlines, although gains in the local currency weighed on the exporter-heavy FTSE 100.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Siju Varghese in Bengaluru; editing by Arun Koyyur)

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