November 4, 2013 / 7:45 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Monday, Nov. 4

LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening higher on Monday, with futures up 0.5 percent by 0737 GMT before the cash market open, following robust data out of China. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* Activity in China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in 13 months in October, offering further indications that the economy has stabilised, though activity in some important areas including new orders slowed.

* The UK blue chip index closed up 3.31 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,734.74 points on Friday. The index hit a five-month high at 6,819 earlier last week and is up 12 percent from June.

* In terms of domestic economic data, the UK Markit/CIPS October PMI construction sector survey is set for release at 0930 GMT.

* Britain’s business association, the CBI, revised up its forecast for the country’s economic growth next year to 2.4 percent on Sunday, predicting a rebound in business and housing investment.

* CENTRICA : The British energy supplier is likely to drop plans to build a 2 billion pound ($3.2 billion) wind farm because of insufficient government subsidies, the Telegraph reported on Sunday, citing three sources.

* HSBC : The bank is expected to report a 10 percent rise in quarterly profit on Monday as Europe’s biggest bank benefits from cost cuts and the absence of a big provision to cover a fine last year.

* DIRECT LINE : Asian investors including China’s Ping An are circling the remaining 28.5 percent stake in Direct Line that is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Independent on Sunday said.

* MARKS & SPENCER : Bill Adderley, the founder of Dunelm who was last week revealed to hold a 3 percent stake in Marks & Spencer, has given his backing to chief executive Marc Bolland despite the continuing struggles of the company’s clothing business, the Sunday Telegraph said.

* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : The new chief executive of RBS, Ross McEwan, is in advanced discussions with the Treasury about the cancellation of the bank’s ‘B’ shares to help give the bank a more normal capital structure, the Sunday Telegraph said.

Also, RBS could pull out of Ireland unless it can find a viable future for its troubled Ulster Bank subsidiary within six months, the Sunday Times reported. Although a review of the business will seek a “viable and sustainable business model” for Ulster Bank, more radical solutions, including a complete withdrawal, have not been ruled out.

* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP : The bank’s buyout arm is preparing to sell its stake in the outdoor retail chain Mountain Warehouse, which it has owned since 2010, the Sunday Times reported.

* WM MORRISON : The grocer is working on a plan to raise hundreds of millions of pounds by selling off some of its stores in sale-and-leaseback deals, the Sunday Telegraph said.

* VEDANTA RESOURCES : The Zambian arm of the mining company plans to cut at least 1,529 jobs by March, the chief executive of the unit said on Friday, as the firm automates its mines in Africa’s top copper producer.

* WATER SUPPLIERS: British Prime Minister David Cameron will take action to help households struggling to meet rising water bills, his spokesman said on Friday in a signal that Britain’s biggest water companies will face greater political scrutiny over pricing.

* ENERGY FIRMS: George Osborne is finalising a plan to cut household energy bills by up to 75 pounds a year by removing charges to support green power projects and home insulation schemes, the Sunday Times said.

* WEIR : The British engineer said third-quarter revenues and profit had been below expectations due to project delays in the mining industry and a slower than forecast recovery in its oil and gas division.


> Financial Times

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