January 12, 2012 / 6:40 AM / 7 years ago

CORRECTED-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Thursday Jan 12

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index was seen opening slightly higher on Thursday, holding firm as investors awaited a Spanish debt auction seen as a key test of investor confidence.

Spain will sell up to 5 billion euros ($6.3 billion)of 2015 and 2016 paper. Italy offers up to 4.75 billion euros of bonds on Friday.

The European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting will be another focus, with the ECB expected to hold rates steady at a record-low 1 percent while pressing governments to strengthen efforts on the crisis.

In terms of domestic economic news, the spotlight shines on the first Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting of 2012, although no change to British interest rates or the quantitative easing programme was anticipated.

London’s benchmark stock index looked set to climb 9-11 points, or 0.2 percent, according to financial bookmakers, after ending down 0.5 percent, or 25.88 points, at 5,670.82 on Wednesday.

James Hyerczyk, analyst at Autochartist, said that on the positive side, the FTSE 100 had a strong volume surge on Tuesday when it rallied to the high of the week at around 5,711.90. This was countered by the index stopping short of the Jan. 4 top at 5,719.80 and failing to muster a follow-through rally Wednesday.

“The fact that it formed an inside range indicates investor indecision and impending volatility,” he said.

* Shares subdued as Spain auction puts investors on edge

* Wall St ends near 5-month high before Europe test

* Nikkei slips before Spanish auction, ECB

* US 10-year notes dip, but euro zone woes support

* Euro claws higher but gains seen capped

* Gold steady as Spain auction, ECB meeting loom

* Copper steady, eyes euro zone funding stress

* Brent firms as tensions between Iran, West mount

UK stocks to watch on Thursday are:

TESCO

The company issues a trading update.

HOME RETAIL GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

JD SPORTS FASHION

The company issues a trading update.

THORNTONS

The company reports second-quarter results.

MOTHERCARE

The company issues a trading update.

OCADO GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

BOOKER GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

HALFORDS GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

ASHMORE GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS

The company issues a trading update.

COMPUTACENTER

The company issues a trading update.

CAPE INTERMEDIATE HOLDINGS

The company issues a trading update.

FIRSTGROUP

The company issues a trading update.

HILTON FOOD GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

SIG

The company issues a trading update.

UK MAIL GROUP

The company issues a trading update.

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134($1 = 0.7882 euros)

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