December 7, 2017 / 7:38 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec 7

(Adds company news and futures)

Dec 7 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 11 points higher at 7,358.6 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.10 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* DS SMITH: British packaging group DS Smith said first-half profit slipped as gains from acquisitions and strong revenues from its European and e-commerce customers were offset by higher costs.

* GVC HOLDINGS: Bookmaker GVC Holdings has offered to buy Ladbrokes Coral for around 3.9 billion pounds ($5.2 billion) to create an online global betting giant that brings together some of the biggest brands in the industry.

* HSBC: HSBC has a three-year head start on its foreign investment banking rivals in China because of the British bank’s unique position of having management control of its securities venture there, chief executive Stuart Gulliver said on Thursday.

* ROLLS-ROYCE: Air New Zealand Ltd on Thursday said it would cancel and delay some international flights over the coming weeks because engines on its Boeing Co BA.N 787-9 jets manufactured by Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC required early maintenance.

* ROYAL MAIL: Britain’s Royal Mail said on Wednesday its mediated talks with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) to end a row over plans to replace the firm’s defined benefit pension scheme were advancing.

* UNILEVER: Italy’s antitrust agency said on Wednesday it had fined Unilever’s, Italian unit more than 60 million euros ($70.7 million) for abuse of its dominant position in the country’s ice cream market.

* OIL: Oil prices inched higher on Thursday after a data report showed a decrease in U.S. crude inventories, but rising gasoline stocks and crude production weighed on the market.

* GOLD: Gold prices edged lower early on Thursday, hovering close to a two-month low hit earlier this week, amid a steady dollar.

* COPPER: London copper edged up on Thursday but was still not far two-month lows amid signs that growth in China’s property and power sectors, both major copper consumers, is tapering into the year end.

* BRITAIN-EU: The Irish and British Prime Minister agreed to speak again over the coming days after Irish premier Leo Varadkar reiterated his firm position on the Irish border in a call with Theresa May on Wednesday, his spokesman said.

* EX-DIVS: Babcock, Mediclinic, Next will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.46 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations

* The UK blue chip index rose 0.5 percent to 7,364.05 points on Wednesday, as Brexit negotiations dented the pound, while Costa owner Whitbread got a late boost when activist investor Sachem Head declared a stake in the company.

* 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 : (Reporting by Harish Bhaskar)

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