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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Thursday Aug 2

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Thu, Aug 02, 2012 18:44 hrs

* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 10-11 points, or 0.2 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, as investors await monetary policy decisions from the European Central Bank as well as the Bank of England later in the day. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip index closed 77.54 points, or 1.4 percent higher on Wednesday at 5,712.82, its highest closing level since ending at 5,714.19 points on July 19.

* U.S. stocks slipped on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average off 0.3 percent, impacted by a trading glitch and after the Fed stopped short of offering new monetary stimulus, even as it signalled more strongly that further bond buying could be in store.

* ECB President Mario Draghi faces intense pressure from investors, European leaders and even the United States to deliver on last week's pledge to do whatever it takes to save the euro when the bank meets.

* The Bank of England looks set to stick to its current stimulus plan for Britain's ailing economy on Thursday, with policymakers anxious to assess the impact of other recent actions.

* Ahead of the Bank of England rate decision, the Markit/CIPS construction sector PMIs for July will be unveiled at 0830 GMT, giving further clues as to the health of the British economy.

* Across the Atlantic ahead of Friday's key U.S. August jobs report, July Challenger layoffs will be released at 1130 GMT and the latest weekly jobless claims are due at 1230 GMT. Aside from that data, July's ISM New York survey, June factory orders, and June revised durable goods order numbers will be released at 1400 GMT.

* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Senior British government figures are discussing the possibility of buying out private investors in RBS, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

* RSA - Britain's biggest commercial insurer, said its first-half profit fell by almost a quarter after heavy flooding in Britain and earthquakes in Italy triggered a surge of claims.

* BAE SYSTEMS - The defence contractor posted a 3 percent fall in first- h alf profit, hit by a delay in the completion of a key deal with Saudi Arabia as well as lower spending by European and American military.

* SMITH & NEPHEW - Europe's leading maker of artificial hips and knees hiked its half-year dividend by 50 percent on Thursday as profit margins grew and its confidence in the future improved, despite challenging markets.

* SCHRODERS - The blue - chip investment manager reported strong inflows in the first half of the year against a backdrop of deepening market uncertainty which saw profit tumble 17 percent compared to a year earlier.

* AGGREKO - The temporary power supplier posted a 23 percent underlying rise in first-half trading profit to 159 million pounds, with group revenue up an underlying 16 percent to 74 million pounds, and continues to believe the firm will deliver another year of good growth in 2012.

* BSKYB - The Competition Commission said the satellite broadcaster's position in movies does not adversely affect competition in the pay-tv r etail market

* LADBROKES - The bookmaker posted a 48.9 percent rise in first-half pretax profit to 106.9 million pounds and said it is comfortable that its performance is in line with expectations for the full y e ar, with digital development the prime focus in the second ha l f.

* MILLENNIUM & COPTHORNE - The hotels operator posted first-half profit before tax of 79.0 million pounds, on revenue of 373.9 million pounds, and said overall revenue per available room, in constant currency terms, rose by 5.2 percent in the first ha l f.

* TRINITY MIRROR - The newspaper publisher posted an 11.5 percent rise in first-half operating profit to 52.5 million pounds, and said strong operational management will deliver an outcome for 2012 ahead of current expectations although the trading environment is expected to remain difficult.

* MATCHTECH GROUP - The staffing group said its full-year outcome is expected to be at lower end of view because of lower- t han- e xpected permanent fees in the fourth q u arter.

* PORTMEIRION GROUP - The pottery manufacturer reported a 6 percent rise in first-half profit before tax to 1.5 million pounds, on revenues up 2 percent to 22.8 million pounds.

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(Reporting by Jon Hopkins; Editing by Stephen Nisbet)



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