February 28, 2019 / 8:03 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 28

(Adds company news items and futures)

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen opening 12 points lower at 7,096 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, while FTSE 100 futures were down 0.09 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* ASTON MARTIN: Luxury British carmaker Aston Martin posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of 68 million pounds ($90 million) in 2018, a 7 percent fall on 2017 as it continues to invest in a series of new models and a second factory as part of its turnaround plan.

* ROLLS-ROYCE: Rolls-Royce said it had withdrawn from a competition to power Boeing’s planned mid-market aircraft because it could not meet the timetable, as the British group reported a full-year underlying operating profit of 616 million pounds ($819 million). * FOXTONS: London-focused real estate agent Foxtons Group Plc on Thursday posted a loss before tax for 2018, citing lower sales and higher costs in a tough property market. * MERLIN: Britain’s Merlin Entertainments, the tourist attraction company, beat forecasts with a 6.2 percent rise in 2018 core earnings, driven by a strong performance at its theme parks business, and said its outlook for 2019 was “positive”. * SPIRE HEALTHCARE: Britain’s Spire Healthcare Group Plc on Thursday posted a 64 percent fall in pretax profit, hit by lower National Health Services revenue and higher costs. * INCHCAPE: Car dealership chain Inchcape Plc reported a 2.6 percent decline in full-year pretax profit on Thursday, as Britain’s auto market cooled and sales were hit by stricter emissions rules.

* IAG: British Airways owner IAG said it expected earnings in 2019 to be flat after it weathered the impact of rising fuel costs and air traffic control disruption to meet expectations for its 2018 results on Thursday.

* RENTOKIL: Pest control firm Rentokil Initial Plc on Thursday reported a 7.4 percent rise in 2018 adjusted pretax profit, boosted by acquisitions and higher demand for its services and said it expects a slight increase in market expectations for the year.

* STHREE: British recruiting company SThree Plc named Mark Dorman as chief executive officer on Thursday, replacing Gary Elden whose departure was announced last year.

* HASTINGS: Hastings Group Holdings Plc reported a 2.6 percent rise in 2018 profit, as higher customer addition helped the insurer battle a dip in cost of motor insurance policies in Britain last year.

* RSA: British general insurer RSA’s posted a 19 percent fall in full-year operating profit to 517 million pounds ($687.09 million) on Thursday, on the back of high weather-related losses and weakness in commercial underwriting.

* PREMIER FOODS: Premier Foods Plc said on Wednesday it would review options after talks with its top shareholders.

* INTERSERVE: Interserve doubled the stake existing shareholders will retain in the British outsourcer to five percent on Wednesday as it set out details of a debt-for-equity deal with lenders aimed at averting a collapse like that of rival Carillion.

* MARKS AND SPENCER: Britain’s Marks and Spencer and Ocado launched an online food joint venture on Wednesday, belatedly giving M&S a home-delivery service while netting $1 billion for its fast-growing technology providing partner. * METRO BANK: The chief executive of crisis-hit Metro Bank said there were “absolutely no question marks” over the future of the lender after a major accounting blunder triggered a hefty investor cash call, sending its shares into a tailspin.

* GOLD: Gold prices on Thursday held near two-week lows touched in the previous session as the dollar rebounded after cautious comments from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stoked concerns over progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Thursday, dragged down by weakening factory output in China and Japan and record U.S. crude output, although markets remained relatively well supported by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC.

* EX-DIVS: AstraZeneca, Barclays, Diageo, easyJet and Micro Focus will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 13.9 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.61 percent down at 7101.20 on Wednesday as Marks & Spencer tumbled after announcing a rights issue to fund an online food joint venture with Ocado, while plans for a cash call knocked Metro Bank to an all-time low.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:

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 * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Adil Bhat in Bengaluru)

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