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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Thursday, Aug 23

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Aug 24, 2012 19:20 hrs

LONDON Aug 23 (Reuters) - * Britain's FTSE 100 index is set to open 30 to 33 points higher, or as much as 0.6 percent, according to financial bookmakers, with investors' risk appetite seen rising after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting raised expectations that the central bank might launch another round of stimulus to help the struggling economy. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* London's blue chip index closed down 83.32 points, or 1.4 percent, at 5,774.20, on Wednesday as miners left Britain's top share index nursing sharp losses after BHP Billiton's results offered a bleak outlook for the sector, while other cyclical stocks were weaker as Greek and European officials met on the euro zone debt crisis.

* But UK stocks look set to rally, echoing gains overnight in the U.S. after minutes from the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting suggested the Fed was likely to deliver further monetary support "fairly soon", with policymakers staying quite categorical about their dissatisfaction with the present economic outlook.

* The Federal Reserve should do more to boost the United States economy as the most recent uptick in employment data is still not good enough, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans told a news briefing in China on Thursday.

* The dollar fell, while oil and metal prices rose on renewed hopes for another round of monetary stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve, helping investors look past weak manufacturing data from China.

* A fly in the ointment could be a knee-jerk reaction to a survey showing China's factories contracted in August the most in nine months, which would most affect miners, but the report also raised expectations that more policy action was probably needed to stop a slowdown in economic growth, now in a seventh quarter.

* There is no important macro economic data out in the UK on Thursday.

* In the United States weekly jobless claims data is due out at 1230 GMT with the figures expected to register a slight fall on the prior week. U.S. monthly home price data is due out at 1400 GMT.

* KAZAKHMYS : Copper miner Kazakhmys < KAZ.L > saw headline profit more than halve in the first six months of the year, as it was hit by rising costs, falling metal prices and the impact of a build up of inventory due to Chinese rail delays.

* PETROPAVLOVSK : Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk said on Thursday its first half net profit fell 90 percent, year-on-year, to $11 million due to higher interest expenses, but forecast its profitability to improve in the second half of the year.

* NEW WORLD RESOURCES : The miner slightly raised its 2012 coal production target on Thursday after posting second-quarter net profit of 28.3 million euros ($35.28 million), above estimates but sharply down from last year.

* BHP BILLITON : Moody's Investors Service said the reported fall in BHP Billiton's full-year earnings was credit negative, but had no impact on its A1/P-1 ratings and stable outlook.

BHP Billiton is making plans to double the first phase of production on its proposed Saskatchewan potash mine to 4 million tonnes, even as a decision on proceeding with the project is delayed, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

* ANGLO AMERICAN : World No.1 copper producer Codelco will pay under $1.8 billion for a stake in global miner Anglo American's south-central Chilean assets and the mining titans are set to end their bitter brawl on Thursday, sources said late on Wednesday.

* Miners: Australia declared the top of the resources boom, which had cushioned the country against the global financial crisis, a day after the world's biggest miner BHP Billiton shelved two major expansion plans worth at least $40 billion.

*IMI : The engineer reported a 4 percent rise in first-half profit on revenue up 6 percent and raised its interim dividend 7 percent to 11.8 pence, but said the pace of revenue growth is likely to slow in the second half.

PREMIER OIL : The oil producer announced oil production rose 58 during the first-half as profits hit a record $194.6 million before tax and said full-year production is estimated to be 60,000 boepd.

* DIAGEO : The world's biggest spirits group, posted a 13 percent rise in full-year profit, helped by its exposure to fast growing emerging markets, and putting it on track to meet its medium-term targets.

* SKYEPHARMA < SKP.L > : UK MHRA has granted marketing authorisation for the drug firm's F lutiform, a combination product for the treatment of asthma. UK launch of Flutiform is expected to take place later this year.

* PREMIER FOODS : The food producer agreed to sell its sweet spreads and jellies business to the hain celestial group for a consideration of 200 million pounds subject to approval by premier foods' shareholders.

* SPORTECH : The operator and supplier of pools and tote betting services said trading remains in line with management expectations for the full year as it reported flat first-half adjusted profit before tax of 7.4 million pounds.

* SIG : The the British building materials company reported a 1.4 percent rise in profit in contnuing operation on flat sales in the first-half.

* AZ Electronic Materials : Profit fell 4 percent in the first half, hurt by lower revenue at its integrated circuits materials division and increased investment in research and development.

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(Written by David Brett)



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