May 23, 2014 / 6:30 AM / 4 years ago

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

(Adds company news, futures price)

LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat on Friday, while the June FTSE futures contract slipped 0.1 percent by 0620 GMT, with uncertainty over European elections seen pegging back markets. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip index ended flat on Thursday at 6,820.56 points.


Britain’s anti-EU UKIP party has made strong gains in local elections, taking seats from both Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour party, according to early results on Friday.


BlackRock Inc, AstraZeneca Plc’s largest shareholder, wants the drugmaker to resume talks with Pfizer Inc about a potential sale eventually, but backs its decision this week to reject Pfizer’s current bid, according to two people familiar with the matter.


Saga IPO-SAGA.L, the UK insurance and holidays firm for the over-50s, has priced its London share listing at the bottom of its original range, the company said on Friday, valuing the company at 2.1 billion pounds ($3.5 billion).


Technology company Smiths Group warned on profitability at its detection unit.


Britain on Friday awarded a contract to run the expanded Thameslink rail network in London to Govia, a joint venture led by transport operator Go-Ahead, in a blow for FirstGroup which currently operates part of the line.


British lender Close Brothers said the loan book of its banking division grew to 5.1 billion pounds during the third quarter and that it was confident of delivering a “strong” result for the financial year.


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Atul Prakash)

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