February 5, 2020 / 7:51 AM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb. 5

(Adds company news items and futures)

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 23 points lower on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.4% ahead of the cash market open.

* FINANCIAL REPORTING COUNCIL: Britain’s accounting watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), announced plans for a hiring drive to strengthen its oversight of audit firms.

* VODAFONE: Vodafone reported organic service revenue growth of 0.8% in the third quarter, an uptick from the second, helped by continued recovery in South Africa.

* BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL GROUP: Babcock International Group Plc said Archie Bethel would be retiring as the British engineering company’s chief executive officer after 16 years with the company.

* LOOKERS: British car dealership Lookers named Chief Financial Officer Mark Raban to the top job and Cameron Wade to the role of chief operating officer, filling positions which have been vacant since a profit warning last year.

* IMPERIAL BRANDS: Tobacco group Imperial Brands said it expects full-year adjusted earnings to be slightly lower than last year due to a U.S. regulatory ban on some flavours of cartridge-based vapour devices and weaker consumer demand.

* BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS: Barratt Developments reported a rise in first-half pretax profit as Britain’s biggest homebuilder sold more homes at lower prices.

* DOMINO’S PIZZA GROUP: Britain’s biggest pizza delivery company Domino’s Pizza Group Plc reported a rise in fourth-quarter group system sales, helped by higher demand in UK and Ireland and warned that it expects significant impairment charges for 2019.

* RYANAIR: Ryanair Holdings Plc publicity describing the budget carrier as a “low-CO2 emissions airline” has been deemed misleading by Britain’s main advertising watchdog, which ordered its withdrawal.

* MARKS AND SPENCER: Marks and Spencer said on Tuesday that the finance director of its food division, Nick Hewitt, stepped down last month.

* AIRLINES: The European Union will consider raising from three hours the minimum flight delay for which passengers can receive financial compensation, a move that could cut airlines’ costs, according to a document seen by Reuters.

* ECONOMY: The City of London financial district said job relocations to the European Union on Day One of Brexit remained far short of the hundreds of thousands predicted when Britain voted to leave the bloc over three years ago.

* OIL: Oil prices climbed more than 1%, boosted by news that OPEC and its producer allies are weighing further output cuts to counter a potential squeeze on global oil demand resulting from China’s fast-spreading coronavirus.

* GOLD: Gold prices firmed, recovering from a sharp drop in the previous session, as safe-haven demand was boosted by worries over a fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak in China.

* UK shares leaped on Tuesday as China’s central bank took steps to shore up the economy, easing fears about the global impact of the coronavirus epidemic, while positive corporate reports from blue-chips added momentum.

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Shanima A and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru)

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