March 1, 2017 / 7:39 AM / in a year

UPDATE 2-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 1

(Adds company news item)

March 1 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 23.1 points on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.1 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.1 percent higher at 7263.44 on Tuesday, as gains by GKN Plc and Pearson Plc outweighed losses from basic resources stocks.

* UNILEVER: Unilever is proposing changes to how it pays executives and directors in order to make them think more like owners of the business, less than two weeks after seeing off a $143 billion takeover pursuit by U.S. rival Kraft Heinz.

* VODAFONE: Sky Network Television will not yet cancel its agreement to buy Vodafone’s New Zealand unit after the country’s competition regulator rejected the proposal, the firms said.

* 21ST CENTURY FOX/SKY: Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc could formally notify the European Commission of its 11.7 billion pound ($14.47 billion) takeover offer for Sky as soon as Thursday, after which the UK culture secretary will decide whether to launch a probe into the extent of Murdoch's control of UK media, the Guardian reported on Tuesday. (

* FORD: U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co plans to cut 1,160 jobs at its at its engine plant in Bridgend by 2021, ITV News reported on Tuesday. (

* MITIE: Britain’s Mitie has agreed to sell its loss-making home healthcare business to specialist healthcare investor Apposite Capital for 2 pounds and will take a larger charge in full-year results to writedown the value of the business, it said on Wednesday.

* INCHCAPE: International dealership firm Inchcape posted a 12 percent increase in underlying pre-tax profit on Wednesday and said it was continuing to benefit from the fall in the pound, as most of its sales came from abroad.

* INTERNATIONAL PERSONAL FINANCE PLC: Consumer credit lender International Personal Finance Plc’s (IPF) full-year pretax profit fell 20.2 percent, hurt by lower income from the home credit business, its biggest unit, and higher investment in its digital platform.

* UK PRICES: Prices in British shops showed the smallest annual decline in over three years last month, adding to signs of growing inflation pressures after last year’s post-referendum fall in the pound, data showed on Wednesday.

* UK INDUSTRY: Prime Minister Theresa May's flagship industrial strategy lacks "clear actions and milestones", the head of the Confederation of British Industry will say on Wednesday, challenging ministers to set out what exactly they plan to do, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. (

* SCOTLAND: The “sheer intransigence” of the British government over Brexit could lead to a second Scottish independence referendum, the head of the devolved Scottish government said on Tuesday.

* GLOBAL MARKETS: U.S. stock futures pared gains on Wednesday on disappointment that President Donald Trump did not offer further details on his plans for infrastructure spending and tax reforms, but the dollar firmed on growing expectations of a rate hike this month.

* ITV: ITV, Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, reported a 3 percent rise in adjusted earnings per share (EPS) as growth in its studios production business more than offset a drop in advertising revenue.

* BRITAIN HOUSING PRICES: British house price rises unexpectedly picked up speed in February, recovering from the weakest month for more than a year in January, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday.

* OIL: Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday as the dollar trimmed gains and a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump offered little on plans by his administration to boost U.S. oil production.

* FEDERAL RESERVE: A handful of Federal Reserve policymakers on Tuesday jolted markets into higher expectations for a March U.S. interest rate increase, with comments that suggested rate-setters are worried about waiting too long in the face of pending economic stimulus from Washington.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit * For Top News : ($1 = 0.8085 pounds) (Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru)

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