September 20, 2018 / 7:01 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Sept. 20

(Adds company news items and futures)

Sept 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were flat ahead of the cash market open on Thursday.

* DIAGEO: Spirits maker Diageo Plc on Thursday forecast a much bigger than previously expected hit from foreign exchange movements this year after weeks of volatility on emerging markets driven by rising U.S. and European interest rates.

* KIER: British construction and services company Kier Group said on Thursday a hefty order book lifted its underlying full-year pretax profit 9 percent, which was higher than expected.

* FRENCH CONNECTION: French Connection Group’s cost-cutting drive helped reduce losses slightly in the first half of 2018, but sales dropped, interim results showed on Thursday, underscoring the intense competition facing the FCUK brand owner.

* IG GROUP: British online financial trading company IG Group Holdings Plc reported a 4.7 percent drop in revenue in the first quarter, hurt by lower levels of market volatility and client activity.

* ASTON MARTIN: Luxury British carmaker Aston Martin said on Thursday it was seeking a valuation of up to 5.07 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) as it set a price range of 17.50 pounds to 22.50 pounds per share for its stock market flotation.

* INMARSAT: British satellite company Inmarsat said it would collaborate with Japan’s Panasonic Avionics in providing in-flight broadband for commercial airlines.

* BAT: British American Tobacco Plc said on Wednesday its board has identified a lead candidate to succeed Chief Executive Nicandro Durante, who has said he intends to retire on April 1, 2019, after nearly 37 years with the company.

* ASTRAZENECA: With smart cancer diagnostics, one-stop-shop diabetes kits and AI systems to improve ambulance pick-ups for patients with chest pain, AstraZeneca aims to move from simply supplying drugs to become a broad healthcare provider in China.

* EQUIFAX: A British regulator on Thursday fined credit reference company Equifax Inc’s UK arm, Equifax Ltd, 500,000 pounds for failing to protect the personal information of up to 15 million people in Britain during a 2017 cyber attack.

* RYANAIR: The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said on Wednesday that it expected industrial unrest at Ryanair across Europe to continue for the foreseeable future.

* TESCO: Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco is going head-to-head with fast-growing German discounters Aldi and Lidl on price with a new grocery store it says will be the cheapest in town.

* OIL: Oil rose for a third day on Thursday amid another drawdown in U.S. inventories and strong U.S. gasoline demand, while signs OPEC may not raise output to address shrinking supplies from Iran also supported prices.

* GOLD: Gold prices nudged up on Thursday as the dollar softened amid easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions and ahead of next week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

* EX-DIVS: GVC Holdings Plc will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.34 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.42 percent higher at 7331.12 points on Wednesday, hitting a near two-week high as investors focused on hopes a U.S.-China trade war was losing intensity.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru)

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