January 31, 2020 / 7:50 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Jan. 31

(Adds news items and futures)

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 47 points higher on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.46% ahead of cash markets open.

* M&C SAATCHI: M&C Saatchi Plc said on Friday Britain’s financial watchdog had started an investigation after the advertising agency revealed an accounting scandal last year.

* STAFFLINE: Recruitment company Staffline Group Plc said on Friday it expects annual adjusted profit to be materially below its previous forecast, hurt by costs associated with an ongoing accounting review.

* FRENCH CONNECTION: French Connection Group Plc said on Friday it had dropped plans to sell the company after completing a review and will now focus on a turnaround by growing its wholesale business in the United States and investing in its online platform.

* HARGREAVES LANSDOWN: Hargreaves Lansdown on Friday posted a 3.3% rise in assets in the three months to end-December on the back of net inflows of client cash and market gains, helping underpin a rise in half-year profits.

* TALKTALK: Broadband provider TalkTalk said it added 148,000 fibre connections in the third quarter, representing 32% of all the new fibre-to-the-cabinet lines on BT’s Openreach network and largely offsetting an industry-wide decline in voice revenue.

* SENIOR: Britain’s Senior Plc, which makes parts including airframes and engine build-up tubes for Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jets, said on Friday revenue and margins at its aerospace division will be lower in 2020 because of the MAX grounding.

* SSE: Energy supplier SSE Plc said on Friday renewable energy output for the first nine months of the fiscal year was behind plan, but maintained its earnings target for the year.

* ASTON MARTIN: Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll will take a roughly 20% stake in Aston Martin for nearly 200 million pounds ($263 million) as the ailing carmaker raises funds to turn around a poor performance hit by weaker-than-expected sales.

* FERREXPO: Iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo Plc said on Friday a Ukrainian court has a put a restriction on the sale of 50.3% of its Swiss unit’s shareholding in Ferrexpo Poltava Mining, one of the company’s mining businesses.

* BREXIT DAY: The United Kingdom leaves the European Union on Friday for an uncertain Brexit future.

* ASTON MARTIN: The British luxury carmaker will hold a board meeting on Thursday to decide whether to raise funds through the sale of a strategic stake, a person familiar with the situation told Reuters.

* GOLD: Gold prices inched lower on Friday after surveys showed Chinese manufacturing activity held steady in January and services firmed, although concerns over the coronavirus and its economic impact kept the metal on track for a second monthly gain.

* OIL: Oil prices jumped on Friday following sharp losses this week, as the World Health Organization (WHO) came out against travel and trade restrictions in declaring a global emergency over the spread of the coronavirus that originated in China last year.

* CORONAVIRUS: A plane carrying UK citizens departed the Chinese city of Wuhan just before 0200 GMT on Friday, the UK embassy in China said. The city is the epicentre of a virus outbreak that has killed more than 200.

* The UK blue-chip index closed down 1.4% on Thursday as the rising death toll from the coronavirus outbreak led investors away from risky assets like stocks and at home the Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged, while Shell and BT slid on disappointing earnings.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru)

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