UPDATE 2-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Jan. 22
LONDON Jan 22 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 1 to 4 points higher, or as much as 0.1 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index ended 1.6 percent firmer on Wednesday at 6,728.04 points, the highest since early December.
* The European Central Bank is poised to announce a plan later in the day to buy government bonds, resorting to its last big policy tool for breathing life into the flagging euro zone economy and fending off deflation.
* A euro zone source said on Wednesday the ECB's Executive Board has proposed that the bank should buy 50 billion euros ($58 billion) in bonds per month from March.
* SMITHS GROUP - The company extended its relationship with AT&T to transform its global communication services and said the long-term agreement will support Smiths group's expanding global operations.
* BARCLAYS - New York's top law enforcer on Wednesday accused Barclays of defying his subpoenas in a probe of high-speed trading in its private "dark pool," and moved to expand his lawsuit accusing the British bank of fraud.
* ST. JAMES'S PLACE - The company reported a 17 percent jump in its funds under management to a record 52 billion pounds ($78.7 billion) in 2014, lifted by higher net inflows.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - The company said it expected 2014 profit in its troubled construction unit would be reduced by 70 million pounds ($106 million) after a review assessed its contracts and found a deterioration in project performance. Continuación...