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LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 was set to edge higher on Wednesday, with futures on the index up 0.1 percent higher ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 26.23 points, or 0.4 percent at 6,995.10, led by Land Securities after it raised its dividend payout.
* MARKS & SPENCER - British retailer Marks & Spencer posted its first rise in annual profit in four years and said it would return excess cash to shareholders, fuelling hopes that it has finally rediscovered a successful formula.
* THOMAS COOK - Travel firm Thomas Cook said that dividend payments could resume next year as it stuck to its forecast for full-year growth, in the face of a backlash in Britain over its handling of the death in 2006 of two children on one of its holidays.
* HARGREAVES LANSDOWN - The British investment firm on Wednesday posted record net inflows of 2.75 billion pounds ($4.26 billion) in the four months to end-April, boosted by strong demand for its pension services.
* BURBERRY - British luxury goods maker Burberry posted a 7 percent rise in underlying full-year pretax profit on Wednesday, beating analyst expectations, but cautioned it was seeing increased uncertainty in some of its markets.
* SSE - Britain’s second-biggest energy supplier SSE reported better than expected full-year results on Wednesday as its energy supply and network businesses made higher profits, helped by cool weather.
* PENNON - British water and environmental services utility Pennon reported a 1 percent rise in full-year core earnings on Wednesday, allowing it to pay shareholders a dividend of 31.8 pence per share, 5 percent above shareholder handouts last year.
* BARCLAYS, ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Five of the world’s biggest banks, including Barclays and RBS, are expected to be hit with a combined bill of more than $5 billion and criminal charges on Wednesday in a settlement with U.S. and British authorities over rigging of currency markets.
* VODAFONE - A merger with Vodafone Group Plc would be a “great fit” for Liberty Global Plc in western Europe, Liberty Chairman John Malone said on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.
* BANK OF GEORGIA - The bank reported a 16 percent rise in first-quarter profit, boosted by a jump in lending, a devaluation of the Georgian lari and the bank’s acquisition of Privatbank.
* CENTRICA - Gas flows to Britain’s North Morecambe (Barrow) gas terminal were restarted past midnight on Wednesday, after being shut due to an unplanned outage the previous day, its operator Centrica said.
* SKY - Italy’s anti-trust authority AGCM said on Tuesday it was investigating the sale of Serie A soccer rights to Sky Italia and Mediaset on suspicion the deal may have violated competition laws and excluded new entrants.
* BP - BP has increased its share in the $12 billion West Nile Delta gas field in Egypt to above 80 percent after buying a stake from DEA, the energy group owned by Russian billionaire Mikhial Fridman.
* RIO TINTO - A worker at Rio Tinto’s Fer et Titane unit died after being injured at its facility at Sorel-Tracy in the Canadian province of Quebec, the global mining company said on Tuesday.
Mongolia and Rio Tinto have reached an agreement paving the way for work to resume on a stalled $5 billion underground copper mine that is expected to drive growth for both the country and the global miner.
* MONDI - Austrian energy company OMV on Tuesday named Peter Oswald, head of packaging group Mondi’s Europe and International business, as the new chairman of its supervisory board.
* BRITVIC - The maker of Robinsons squash and Tango posted a 6.4 percent rise in first-half profit, underpinned by cost savings, and stuck to its full-year guidance despite expectations for continued tough trading in its second half.
* CO-OP BANK - The Co-operative Bank said on Wednesday it was making continued progress in a sweeping turnaround plan aimed at derisking its balance sheet and focusing on individual and small business customers.
* GREAT PORTLAND ESTATES - Great Portland Estates Plc, which owns offices and shops in central London, posted a 24.6 percent rise in full-year net asset value and raised its dividend, boosted by a boom in property demand.
* UK MAIL - UK Mail Group Plc warned results for the current financial year would be more weighted towards the second half than usual as the company repositions its parcels business and transitions fully to its new automated hub in Ryton near Coventry.
* CABLE & WIRELESS - London-listed Cable & Wireless posted a 4 percent rise in revenue, its first top line growth since it demerged from the former Cable & Wireless in 2010, reflecting early results from a $1 billion upgrade of its networks.
* ZOOPLA - British property search website Zoopla said on Wednesday that its adjusted core earnings rose 14 percent to 21.4 million pounds ($33.16 million) as average visits to the site rose steadily.
* VECTURA - Respiratory drugs specialist Vectura Group Plc reported a bigger-than-expected jump in full-year revenue as it raked in higher royalty payments and licensing revenue.
* Britain’s top bosses should defend membership of the European Union by telling voters it is the best guarantee of prosperity, the head of the country’s largest business lobby group will say on Wednesday.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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