UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Friday, March 22

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 22, 2013 12:59 hrs

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Financial bookmakers predict Britain's FTSE 100 index to open down 20 to 25 points, or as much as 0.4 percent, on Friday on persistent concerns over Cyprus. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The European Union gave Cyprus till Monday to raise the billions of euros it needs to secure an international bailout or face a collapse of its financial system that could push it out of the euro currency zone. Talks with Russia possible funding ended without a deal.

* The FTSE 100 closed down 44.15 points, or 0.7 percent at 6,388.55 points in the previous session, extending its retreat from a five-year peak of 6,533.99 points hit earlier this month.

* BP - The British oil company said it would launch an $8 billion share buy-back programme to return cash to shareholders after closing the sale of its stake in its Russian unit.

* MULBERRY - The British luxury brand on Friday warned on year profit again, partly blaming reduced tourist spending in London stores for weaker than expected post-Christmas revenue.

* ESURE - The company said it had priced its London listing at 290 pence per share, valuing the home and motor insurer at 1.2 billion pounds ($1.82 billion).

* 888 - London-listed 888 said it had been granted a licence to operate its online betting products in Nevada, the first time an internet gambling company has been licensed in the United States.

* HOMESERVE - The company says it is on track to achieve its FY 2013 expectations and expects the UK customer base to stabilise at around 1.9 million customers by March 2014.

* PHOENIX GROUP HOLDINGS - The company's 2012 profit rose 6 percent.

* Brent crude held above $107 a barrel, but was still on track for a second straight week of losses, as Cyprus scrambled to raise money to avert a financial meltdown that could disrupt the euro zone's recovery and diminish its oil demand.

* London copper rose on signs of resurfacing Chinese demand and a U.S. recovery, but worries over a Cypriot default and a deepening economic malaise in the euro zone put the metal on track for its biggest weekly loss in a month.


> Financial Times

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