RPT-UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Feb 3

(Repeats to additional subscribers without changes to text)

LONDON, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index is seen opening a
touch higher on Wednesday, following overnight advances on Wall Street and in
Asia, with the mining sector a likely focus as Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) and Eurasian
Natural Resources (ENRC.L: ) release fourth-quarter output figures.

According to financial bookmakers, the UK blue chip index is set to rise 3
to 10 points, or as much as 0.2 percent, in opening trade, extending its gain
into a fourth straight session. The index closed up 35.90 points, or 0.7 percent
at 5,283.31 on Tuesday, buoyed by miners and banks.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rallied for a second day on Tuesday as better-than-expected
earnings and encouraging data calmed investors after the market’s recent
sell-off.

Rising sales of previously-owned U.S. homes and robust earnings from
bellwethers representing consumer and industrial businesses, including Whirlpool
Corp (WHR.N: ) and Cummins Inc (CMI.N: ), pointed to a steady rebound in demand.

British consumer confidence rose in January, a Nationwide building society
survey showed, but households showed less desire to spend than normal for the
start of the year and barriers to a full recovery in sentiment remain.
[ID:nLAG006085]

Britain’s labour market is slowly starting to recover, with the biggest
increase in job vacancies in two-and-a-half years and a rise in permanent
placements last month, a survey of recruitment agencies showed. [ID:nLDE6111UB]

And British shop price inflation picked up slightly in January, driven by
the biggest annual price rises in non-food sectors since at least December 2006,
a British Retail Consortium survey showed. [ID:nLDE6111W9]

Investors will also eye UK CIPS Services PMI for January, due at 0928 GMT.

The Bank of England starts its two-day monetary policy committee meeting on
Wednesday, with a decision due on Thursday.

The BoE is expected to signal a pause in quantitative easing by refraining
from increasing its 200 billion pound asset buying programme [ID:nLDE6101W4]

On the other side of the Atlantic, U.S. ADP National Employment figures for
January, due at 1315 GMT, will be of interest, ahead of Friday’s key December
U.S. jobs report.

AstraZeneca (AZN.L: ) and Sage Group (SGE.L: ) will trade ex-dividend on
Wednesday, knocking 6.22 points off the FTSE 100 index.

* Asia shares rise on U.S. cues; Aussie rebounds [ID:nSGE612001]

* Wall St climbs for 2nd day on solid earnings, data [ID:nN02107059]

* Nikkei claws higher; Toyota, Fast Retailing weigh [ID:nTOE61204T]

* High yielders cut gains as diary still full of risks [ID:nTOE612059]

* Bonds edge up before refunding news, payrolls [ID:nN02109662]

* Oil falls towards $77 as U.S. crude inventories jump [ID:nSGE612073]

* PRECIOUS-Gold steady above $1,110/oz, eyes on US data [ID:nTOE61201Q]

* METALS-Copper gains, confidence returns after US data [ID:nSGE612058]

UK stocks to watch on Wednesday:

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (RDSa.L: )

Nigerian militants said on Tuesday a Shell oil pipeline damaged on Saturday
was blown up with explosives, not damaged by oil thieves, and warned it would
attack the line and other oil facilities in coming weeks. [ID:nLDE6112FE]

Separately, Shell said a crude distillation unit at its 236,400
barrel-per-day Motiva Enterprises joint-venture refinery in Norco, Louisiana,
would restart in early April after repairs from a Jan. 22 fire. [ID:nN02105959]

MINERS

Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ) and BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) are asking steel mills in Japan
and South Korea to accept a 40 percent rise in the contract price of iron ore
for 2010, a Chinese newspaper said, citing sources. [ID:nTOE612023]

XSTRATA (XTA.L: )

Unionised workers at Xstrata’s Sudbury mining operations ratified a new
three-year labor contract on Tuesday, the union said. [ID:nN02122747]

BAE SYSTEMS (BAES.L: )

Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N: ) F-35 program manager Dan Crowley told
reporters that key subcontractors Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N: ) and BAE Systems
would share in the burden of the $614 million in performance fees that the
Pentagon plans to withhold due to poor performance. [ID:nWEN9533]

BARCLAYS (BARC.L: )

Evidence has emerged that suggests Barclays has misled more investors into
buying risky funds, the Daily Mail says, citing documents it has obtained.

TESCO (TSCO.L: )

The world’s No.4 retailer plans to spend over 100 million pounds ($159
million) with British green technology companies over the coming year as it
steps up its drive to halve carbon emissions by 2020. [ID:nLDE6112EQ]

ARM HOLDINGS (ARM.L: )

The British chip designer will be added to the FTSE 100 index to replace
Cadbury (CBRY.L: ) on Feb. 8 following the takeover of the British confectioner,
the FTSE index company said on Tuesday.

SPORTS DIRECT (SPD.L: )

The retailer is securing one of the country’s finest criminal QCs in order
to advise the group’s founder and executive deputy chairman in regard to a
Serious Fraud Office investigation, reported The Daily Telegraph.

ANTOFAGASTA (ANTO.L: )

The Chilean copper miner releases fourth-quarter output figures.

EURASIAN NATURAL RESOURCES (ENRC.L: )

The Kazakh mining group releases fourth-quarter output figures.

STANDARD LIFE (SL.L: )

The insurer issues a fourth-quarter trading update.

AUTONOMY CORP (AUTN.L: )

The software firm posts fourth-quarter results.

CARPETRIGHT (CATVU.L: )

The floor coverings retailer issues a trading update.

CRESTON (CRCRE.L: )

The marketing communications company issues a third-quarter trading update.

WORKSPACE GROUP (WKP.L: )

The small business landlord issues a trading update.

QUADNETICS GROUP (QDG.L: )

The provider of CCTV systems posts first-half results.

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times [PRESS/FT]

> Other business headlines [PRESS/GB]

Investment

(Reporting by Tricia Wright)

RPT-UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Feb 3