March 4, 2020 / 7:58 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 4

(Adds company news items, futures)

March 4 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 14 points lower at 6,704 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.6% ahead of cash market open.

* DEVRO: Sausage-skin maker Devro said on Wednesday its manufacturing plant in Nantong, China, was operating at normal capacity and had not faced labour or supply shortages, as it posted a marginally higher annual underlying pretax profit.

* INTU: Britain’s Intu said on Wednesday it was scrapping its planned equity raise of between 1 billion pounds and 1.5 billion pounds ($1.92 billion), as uncertainties in equity and retail property markets prevented some investors from committing money into the debt-laden mall operator.

* WIZZ AIR: Wizz Air has cut some flights, mainly to Italy, from March 11 and could further reduce capacity by about 10% in its next quarter after demand was affected by the coronavirus outbreak, it said on Wednesday.

* VIVO ENERGY: African fuel retailer Vivo Energy said on Wednesday its annual adjusted core earnings rose 8%, as sales increased at its Engen and Shell-branded filling stations and the company continued to expand its network rapidly.

* LEGAL & GENERAL: British life insurer Legal & General posted a 12% rise in 2019 operating profit to 2.1 billion pounds ($2.69 billion) on Wednesday, boosted by record company pension deals.

* POLYMETAL: Polymetal, one of Russia’s largest gold and silver producers, said on Wednesday its 2019 net earnings rose by 36% to a record high of $483 million due to stronger global gold prices and higher output.

* NMC HEALTH: NMC Health founder BR Shetty is considering selling all or some of his Abu Dhabi-based pharmaceutical business Neopharma, which is valued at about $1 billion, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

* RYANAIR: Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said on Tuesday he would welcome the “lunatics” of the Green Party entering government in Ireland as part of ongoing coalition talks as this would mean they would be forced to “confront reality”.

* OIL: Oil prices rose more than 1% on expectations that major producers have moved closer to an agreement to enact deeper output cuts aimed at offsetting the slump in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

* GOLD: Gold prices rose, extending gains from a 3% rise in the previous session as the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to cushion the economic impact from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

* London’s bluechip index rose for a second day on Tuesday, as the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to protect the U.S. economy from the impact of the coronavirus, marking the central bank’s first emergency rate cut since the financial crisis.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Indranil Sarkar and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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