February 7, 2020 / 7:44 AM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb. 7

(Adds news items, futures)

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 7 points lower on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.2% ahead of the cash market open.

* NOVACYT: Biotechnology company Novacyt said it has applied for emergency approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for a test product for the coronavirus that has killed almost 640 people.

* BURBERRY: Britain’s Burberry said the virus outbreak in mainland China was hurting luxury demand in one of its most important markets.

* CALISEN: British smart meter company Calisen priced a 328.8 million pounds initial public offering, placing 145.55 million shares at 240 pence per share.

* OFGEM: UK’s energy regulator said the price cap for bills will fall by 17 pounds to 1,162 pounds during the summer, as wholesale energy prices have declined in the last few months.

* ADMIRAL: British insurer Admiral said it expects 2019 pretax profit to rise 6%-13% from the prior year due to lower UK motor bodily injury claims.

* SHELL: Oil and gas major Royal Dutch Shell said it plans to build its first utility-scale solar farm in Australia, part of a global push into the power business and cleaner energy.

* ECONOMY: British companies hired permanent staff in January at the fastest rate in just over a year and shops reported the biggest increase in sales since 2014, according to two surveys which added to signs of a post-election bounce in the economy.

* RETAILERS: British retailers had their biggest increase in sales in six years in January as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s sweeping election win and price-cutting encouraged consumers to spend more, a survey showed.

* HARGREAVES LANSDOWN: Hargreaves Lansdown’s largest investor Peter Hargreaves will sell shares worth about 500 million pounds ($647 million) in the British investment platform via a sale to institutional investors, a bookrunner on the deal said.

* OIL: Oil prices advanced after Russia said it backs a recommendation for OPEC and other producers to cut their output further amid falling demand for crude as China battles the coronavirus epidemic.

* GOLD: Gold prices were steady after two days of gains as share markets lost ground, with the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, showing no signs of slowing down, escalating fears of a broader impact on economic growth.

* UK shares advanced for a fourth straight session on Thursday as risk sentiment picked up after China pledged to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports, though Royal Mail slid to an all-time low after warning of a challenging year ahead.

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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

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