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

(Adds company news items and futures)

March 7 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen opening 34 points lower at 7,162 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, while FTSE 100 futures were down 0.47 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* SCHRODERS: British asset manager Schroders on Thursday posted a 15 percent fall in full-year pretax profit on the back of higher one-off costs and a fall in assets under management and fee income.

* COBHAM: British engineer Cobham said it planned to reinstate a progressive dividend after it strengthened its balance sheet and forecast more progress in 2019.

* COUNTRYWIDE: British real estate agent Countrywide Plc on Thursday forecast flat full-year earnings, citing more market weakness surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union.

* GREGGS: British baker and takeaway food group Greggs reported a 10 percent rise in 2018 profit and said it had made a “very strong” start to its new financial year.

* AVIVA: British insurer Aviva posted a 2 percent rise in full-year operating profit, boosted by gains in its life insurance business.

* INMARSAT: British satellite operator Inmarsat reported a 15 percent rise in fourth-quarter core earnings on Thursday after strong demand for aviation broadband offset weakness in some maritime categories.

* NATIONAL GRID: Electricity and gas utility company National Grid Plc said it agreed to buy U.S-based utility-scale wind and solar energy developer Geronimo Energy for at least $100 million.

* MELROSE: Turnaround specialist Melrose Industries Plc’s full-year adjusted pretax profit nearly tripled, boosted by last year’s hostile takeover of British engineer GKN.

* ADMIRAL GROUP: Insurer Admiral Group Plc said it had run stress tests to Brexit-proof its business, flagging potential economic disruptions that may arise from a “hard Brexit”, as it reported better-than-expected 2018 earnings.

* IAG: British Airways owner IAG is unlikely to renew its interest in Norwegian Air after ruling out a new bid for the Scandinavian carrier earlier in the year, but “never say never”, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said on Wednesday.

* GOLD: Gold prices steadied on Thursday as lacklustre appetite for riskier assets offered some support to the safe-haven metal, while firm dollar limited gains ahead of European Central Bank’s (ECB) policy meeting due later in the day.

* OIL: Oil edged up on Thursday amid ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against exporters Venezuela and Iran, although prices were prevented from rising further by record U.S. crude output and rising commercial fuel inventories.

* EX-DIVS: BHP Group,Evraz Group,Persimmon ,Rio Tinto,RSA Insurance Group and Standard Chartered will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 21.7 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.17 percent up at 7196.00 on Wednesday as tobacco stocks gained on U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s departure and DS Smith rose after selling its plastics division, while Legal & General slipped after results.

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


> Financial Times

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