April 20, 2017 / 6:58 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on April 20

(Adds company news, futures)

April 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 0.16 percent at 7103 points on Thursday, according to financial spreadbetters, with futures down 0.1 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* ACACIA: Acacia Mining reported a 15 percent rise in its first-quarter gold production on Thursday but said sales undershot due to a ban on gold and copper exports by Tanzania.

* DEBENHAMS: Debenhams, Britain’s second-largest department store group, on Thursday detailed a plan to return to growth by becoming more of a destination for shoppers that is differentiated from rivals and has an enhanced digital offer.

* SKY: European pay-TV group Sky said the number of customers deserting the service in its key home market had remained steady in the third quarter, helping it to reiterate its targets for the full year.

* UNILEVER: Consumer goods maker Unilever, reported better than expected first-quarter sales on Thursday, helped by pricing growth.

* EVRAZ: Russia’s Evraz, one of the country’s largest steelmakers, said on Thursday its first-quarter crude steel output rose 8.7 percent quarter-on-quarter to 3.7 million tonnes.

* IHG: Global hotel chain InterContinental Hotels Group Plc said 1,200 of its franchised hotels in the United States, including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, were victims of a three-month cyber attack that sought to steal customer payment card data.

* RIO TINTO: Global miner Rio Tinto, on Thursday said first-quarter iron production from Australia fell 3 percent from the same period a year ago due to wet weather at its mines, but kept its full-year guidance intact despite weakening ore prices.

* OIL: Oil prices regained some ground on Thursday after steep losses the previous day, with a slight drop in U.S. crude inventories stoking hopes that a push to rein in global oversupply could be gathering at least some momentum.

* GOLD: Gold held firm on Thursday, after falling as much as 1 percent the previous day, as tensions surrounding North Korea and the upcoming French presidential election offered support to the safe-haven asset amid a firmer dollar. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,280 per ounce as of 0107 GMT.

* Copper: London copper rose on Thursday but was mired near its lowest for the year after China’s refined production surged in March, underlining ample stocks in the world’s biggest metals consumer. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose by 0.7 percent to $5593 a tonne by 0126 GMT.

* EMA: The European Medicines Agency (EMA), Europe’s equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is preparing to leave its London headquarters in the wake of Brexit and its executive director is hoping for a quick decision on its new location. France offered the northern city of Lille as a candidate to host the European Union’s drug regulator to replace London after Britain leaves the bloc, the government said on Wednesday.

* EX-DIVS: BAE Systems, Barratt Developments, Intu Properties, Mondi and Smurfit Kappa Group will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 3.1 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations.

* Britain’s top share index closed down 0.5 percent at 7,114.36 points as it came under pressure once again on Wednesday, giving up the gains it had made in 2017 as sterling held close to a six-and-a-half-month high after Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap general election.

* 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 topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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