UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 17
March 17 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 29 points, or 0.47 percent higher on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on * The UK blue chip index closed 0.6 percent higher at 6,175.49 points on Wednesday, as oil and gas stocks and homebuilders rallied on the back of proposals in British finance minister George Osborne's annual budget statement. * OIL COMPANIES: British finance minister George Osborne will cut taxes by 1 billion pounds ($1.41 billion) over five years for energy companies pumping oil from the country's North Sea fields, in a boost for an industry suffering low crude prices. * SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco announced plans on Wednesday to break up Motiva Enterprises LLC in a deal that ends a partnership of nearly two decades and hands control of the biggest U.S. refinery to the Saudi state oil giant. * GLENCORE: Glencore Plc said on Thursday it has put its coal trains in Australia up for sale, hoping to fetch as much as A$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) as it taps into a hot market for infrastructure to cut debt. * BARCLAYS: Barclays is being sued by the former boss of Tullett Prebon, Terry Smith, over accusations that the bank failed to transfer hundreds of thousands pounds of the financier's money into his investment fund so that he missed out on a more than doubling in its value, The Times reported. (thetim.es/1VdJb1E) * UK BUDGET: British finance minister George Osborne handed tax sweeteners to voters and small businesses ahead of a June referendum on European Union membership, but warned the economy would grow more slowly than previously forecast. * EU REFERENDUM: Support for Britain to stay in the European Union stood at 43 percent, ahead of support for a withdrawal from the 28-member bloc, which stood at 41 percent, an opinion poll by ICM suggested on Thursday. * COPPER: London copper popped back above the $5,000 mark on Thursday after U.S. monetary officials flagged fewer rate hikes this year because of a fragile global economy, knocking the dollar and boosting the value of commodities. * EX-DIVS: British American Tobacco, Hammerson and Randgold Resources will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 8.16 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations * UK CORPORATE DIARY: OneSavings Bank FY results Secure Trust Bank FY results Premier Farnell FY results Kier Group H1 results Spire Healthcare FY results Arbuthnot Banking FY results Ted Baker FY results TODAY'S UK PAPERS > Financial Times > Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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