March 19, 2020 / 8:10 AM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 19

(Adds company news items and futures)

March 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 191 points on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up about 1% ahead of cash market open.

* IG GROUP: Financial trading platform IG Group reported a 29% jump in third-quarter revenue, as client activity on its website peaked due to “exceptionally high” market volatility set off by the coronavirus outbreak and the oil price crash.

* CREST NICHOLSON: British housebuilder Crest Nicholson cancelled payment of its final dividend along with financial forecasts for 2020.

* ENQUEST: British North Sea oil and gas producer EnQuest said it aims to break even this year at $38 a barrel and does not expect to restart its Heather and Thistle/Deveron fields, which produced 6,000 barrel of oil equivalent per day (boed) last year.

* DIRECT LINE: UK’s biggest motor insurer Direct Line halted its 250 million pounds ($288.53 million) share buyback programme on Thursday and said it expected a jump in travel insurance claims, while motor insurance claims could fall temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak.

* PZ CUSSONS: British cosmetics and soap maker PZ Cussons Plc named Avon Products executive Jonathan Myers as its new chief executive officer, replacing Alex Kanellis, who retired in January.

* OCADO: British online supermarket Ocado said growth in the last three weeks was double that of its first quarter, as panicked shoppers stock up on goods ahead of an expected shutdown to tackle the coronavirus.

* BURBERRY: Luxury British brand Burberry said the drop-off in demand due to coronavirus had intensified, pushing comparable retail store sales between 40% and 50% lower over the last six weeks.

* PLAYTECH: Gambling software maker Playtech said it has suspended all shareholder returns as it focuses on preserving cash during the global crisis that has particularly hurt its sports business.

* JOULES GROUP: British fashion retailer Joules Group cancelled its interim dividend and said the industry was in need of more support from the government, as it reported lower store traffic due to the outbreak.

* NEXT: British clothing retailer Next said the industry was facing a crisis that is unprecedented in living memory, but believes that its balance sheet and margins will help it weather the storm.

* GOLD: Gold prices fell more than 1% on Thursday in volatile trade, as investors sought to hoard cash in unstable market conditions despite additional measures from the European Central Bank to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

* OIL: Oil prices rose on Thursday but pared early gains as investors tried to assess how effective massive stimulus by central banks will be in shoring up the global economy as the shock from the coronavirus pandemic deepens.

* The UK blue-chip index closed down 4% on Wednesday as more companies warned of a severe hit to earnings from the coronavirus outbreak even as policymakers pushed for fresh stimulus measures to support global growth.

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

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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