November 20, 2019 / 7:59 AM / 23 days ago

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

(Adds futures, news items)

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 14 points lower at 7,310 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.3%ahead of the cash market open.

* MITCHELLS & BUTLERS: Mitchells & Butlers reported a higher full-year adjusted operating profit, buoyed by stronger food sales at its around 1,700 restaurants and pubs across the UK, and as it kept a tight lid on costs.

* UNITED UTILITIES: British water supplier United Utilities Group Plc reported a 6.5% rise in first-half underlying earnings, driven by target-based incentives from regulator Ofwat and lower infrastructure-related costs.

* JUST EAT: The head of Prosus NV’s venture capital arm expects to make more investments in the food delivery space globally, building on the hefty stakes it already holds in leading startups in Brazil, India and Germany and its parent company’s bid for Britain’s Just Eat.

* KINGFISHER: British home improvement retailer Kingfisher reported a worsening fall in underlying sales in its latest quarter, underlining the task facing its new boss.

* BABCOCK: British engineer Babcock International said it was on course to hit its full-year profit and revenue targets due to solid demand for support services across its UK warship division.

* SAGE: British software company Sage reported a 13% drop in full-year organic operating profit to 432 million pounds ($558 million) as its margin was squeezed by increased investment in its cloud and subscription products.

* FEVERTREE DRINKS: Premium tonic water maker Fevertree Drinks Plc said it was still being hurt by slack consumer spending in Britain, even as other regions, especially the United States, were performing well.

* BREXIT: Twitter said that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party misled the public by changing the name of one of its Twitter accounts to make it look like a fact checking service during a televised election debate.

* AVIVA: British insurer Aviva has simplified its business into five operating divisions following a review and is selling its stake in its Hong Kong business to co-investor Hillhouse Capital, it said ahead of a presentation to investors.

* ASTON MARTIN: Aston Martin, which has seen its share price plunge this year as sales failed to meet expectations after a stock market flotation, launched its first sport utility vehicle on Wednesday, hoping for a turnaround in fortunes.

* VODAFONE: Vodafone has secured a seven-year technology partnership with Ryanair to handle services including online booking, passenger boarding and in-flight transactions for the Irish airline in Europe.

* IAG: A former British Airways executive who oversaw the carrier’s operations at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has been indicted for accepting bribes to help a ground handling company win contracts, New York’s attorney general said on Tuesday.

* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell Plc completed a planned seven-week multi-unit overhaul at its 340,000 barrel-per-day (bpd), joint-venture Deer Park, Texas, refinery on Monday, said sources familiar with plant operations on Tuesday.

* OIL: Oil prices were steady, after falling the past two days, as a surge in U.S. stockpiles reinforced concerns about lacklustre global economic growth amid the trade war between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers.

* GOLD: Gold inched up after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese imports if no deal is reached with Beijing and as the U.S. Senate passed a bill backing human rights in Hong Kong.

* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.2% and shed most of its earlier gains but still managed to close higher on Tuesday, as sentiment was supported by a surge in safety equipment maker Halma and hopes of more stimulus from economic powerhouse China.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Shanima A in Bengaluru)

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