April 29, 2020 / 7:00 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on April 29

(Adds company news items, futures)

April 29 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 36 points higher at 5,994 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.28% ahead of cash market open.

* BARCLAYS: Barclays set aside 2.1 billion pounds ($2.62 billion) to cover a likely spike in loan losses as thousands of its corporate and consumer borrowers battle to cope with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

* NEXT: British clothing retailer Next said total product sales in its latest quarter crashed 41%, reflecting the closure of all its stores in the coronavirus lockdown and the temporary shutdown of its online operations.

* DIXONS CARPHONE: Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone said strong online demand was partially offsetting declines from stores being shut in the coronavirus lockdown, but it scrapped its dividend due to the uncertainty ahead.

* PERSIMMON: British housebuilder Persimmon said a phased restart of operations at its construction sites was underway and it does not plan to access the government’s COVID-19 funding schemes.

* HISCOX: Insurer Hiscox said it was assessing possible sources of funding, including an equity raise, due to an expected fall in capital because of a pandemic-induced rise in rates across the U.S. wholesale and reinsurance markets.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca beat analysts’ estimates for first-quarter profit and reiterated its outlook for 2020, as demand for the company’s newer medicines remained steady.

* FEVERTREE: Britain’s Fevertree Drinks said co-founder Charles Rolls plans to step down from his role as non-executive deputy chairman at the company’s annual general meeting in June.

* IAG: British Airways plans to cut more than a quarter of its jobs due to the coronavirus crisis, parent company IAG said on Tuesday, forecasting that passenger numbers will take years to recover.

* UNILEVER: Unilever, L’Oreal and Estee Lauder are among firms vying to buy British makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Ltd, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

* OIL: U.S. oil prices jumped, trimming some of this week’s losses, after U.S. stockpiles rose less than expected and on expectations demand will increase as some European countries and U.S. cities moved to ease coronavirus lockdowns.

* GOLD: Gold prices inched higher as the dollar weakened amid plans to ease major economies out of coronavirus lockdowns, while investors awaited any forward guidance from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy statement due later in the day.

* The UK blue-chip index closed up 1.9% at a near seven-week high on Tuesday, as hopes that major economies will ease lockdown measures helped investors look past dire quarterly earnings reports from oil major BP and lender HSBC.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru)

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