LONDON Jan 23 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening
up 18 to 25 points, or as much as 0.4 percent on Wednesday, according to
financial bookmakers, tracking a late rally to 5-year highs on Wall Street
fueled by positive earnings and an extension of the U.S. debt limit. For more on
the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down 1.81 points, or 0.03 percent on Tuesday
at 6,179.17 points, stalling after a recent push up to its highest level in
four-and-a-half years, weighed by falls in financials and mining stocks.
* On Wall Street, gains in bank and commodity shares also led the Standard &
Poor's 500 index up to a fresh five-year closing high on Tuesday, and
earnings results from technology companies posted after the closing bell also
did not disappoint.
* IBM reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat
analysts' forecasts and Google Inc said net revenue in
its core Internet business increased more than 20 percent in the fourth
* The stock market also got some support on signals that Republican leaders
in the U.S. House of Representatives would aim on Wednesday to pass a bill to
extend the U.S. debt limit by nearly four months. The White House welcomed the
move, saying it would remove uncertainty about the issue.
* BHP BILLITON - The world's biggest mining company,
boosted its iron ore output by 3 percent in the December quarter, slightly below
analysts' forecasts, as it races to supply more of the raw material to Chinese
steelmakers despite signs of a softening market.
* BG GROUP : The energy firm rose on Tuesday amid rehashed speculation
that BP was running the slide-rule over the company, according to the
Daily Mail market report.
* UNITED UTILITIES - The utilities company was shrouded in
speculation that a consortium of infrastructure funds: GIP - the owner of
Gatwick airport, Canadian investors Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Borealis,
were lining up a bid of between 8 and 10 billion pounds, with Bankers Goldman
Sachs said to be willing to advise, while JP Morgan is believed to be willing to
provide 5 billion pounds of financing for the deal, according to the Daily
Telegraph market report.
* BARCLAYS - The bank is cutting up to 2,000 jobs in its investment
bank as part of a strategic overhaul by the bank's chief executive Antony
Jenkins, the Financial Times said.
* BSKYB - British Culture minister Ed Vaizey will say on Wednesday
that the government will intervene if BSkyB does not voluntarily stop charging
the BBC and other public service broadcasters fees for carrying their channels
on its satellite service, the Daily Telegraph said.
* HMV GROUP -The future for the music and DVD retailer that went
into administration last week, brightened after specialist investor Hilco
effectively took control on Tuesday. Hilco, which buys distressed businesses,
said it had bought HMV's debt to provide stability for the business during the
administration, the Times said.
* Minutes from January's Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting
will be released at 0930 GMT, with no change expected to the unanimous 9-0 vote
seen in December to maintain British interest rates at record lows, and the 8-1
vote to leave its quantitative easing programme unchanged.
* British jobless numbers will also be released at 0930 GMT, with the
December claimant count seen flat, after a 3,000 decrease in November, and the
ILO annualised unemployment rate seen unchanged month-on-month at 7.8 percent in
* Across the Atlantic, November's FHFA U.S. home prices survey for November
will be released at 1400 GMT, preceeded by the latest weekly U.S. mortgage and
refinancing indexes at 1200 GMT.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
UNILEVER issues a fourth-quarter trading update.
LAND SECURITIES GROUP issues a third-quarter trading update.
SAGE GROUP issues a first-quarter trading update.
HOCHSCHILD MINING issues an output statement.
WH SMITH issues an AGM trading update.
BRITVIC issues a first-quarter trading update.
CLOSE BROTHERS GROUP issues a trading update.
FINDEL issues a third-quarter trading update.
BIOME TECHNOLOGIES issues a trading update.
TOPPS TILES holds its annual general meeting.
REDEFINE INTERNATIONAL holds its annual general meeting.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)