March 23, 2020 / 7:51 AM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 23

(Adds company news items and futures)

March 23 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 379 points on Monday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 4.13% ahead of cash market open.

* PEARSON: British publisher Pearson said it would halt share buybacks as it predicted a 25 million pounds to 35 million pounds hit to operating profit this year due to the coronavirus-driven closure of many of its academic testing centres.

* KINGFISHER/A.G. BARR: Home improvement group Kingfisher and soft drinks firm A.G. Barr said they would delay publication of their full-year results for at least two weeks, heeding a call from the financial markets regulator on Saturday.

* SHELL: Oil major Shell lowered capital expenditure for 2020 by about $5 billion and suspended the next tranche of its share buyback plan, as the company tries to weather a hit from the recent oil price crash.

* ITV: ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, said advertisers across all categories were deferring campaigns, and the rapidly changing situation meant it could not guide to ad sales or forecast its outcome for the year.

* PRIMARK: Primark is closing all of its stores, a loss of roughly 650 million pounds worth of net sales a month, and will stop placing new orders with suppliers, its parent company said as the coronavirus outbreak deepens.

* BYOTROL: Hand sanitizer-maker Byotrol said there was a substantial increase in demand for a range of its infection prevention products amid the coronavirus health crisis and expects better-than-expected results.

* GOLD: Gold prices fell on Monday as investors stockpiled cash, with a rising numbers of coronavirus-led national lockdowns threatening to overshadow stimulus measures from global central banks to combat the economic damage.

* OIL: Oil prices fell on Monday as governments escalated lockdowns to curb the virus outbreak that has slashed the demand outlook for oil and threatened a global economic contraction.

* The UK blue-chip index closed up 0.8% on Friday as investors pinned hopes on more stimulus actions.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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