UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Dec 23

LONDON, Dec 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index
is seen rising on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session, with
energy stocks likely to gain as oil hovered near a two-year high, while
investors awaited a number of U.S. economic releases ahead of the Christmas
break.

The UK blue chip index looks set to advance 13 to 14 points, or as much as
0.2 percent, according to financial bookmakers, after it closed up 31.69 points,
or 0.5 percent, at 5,983.49 on Wednesday.

“With volumes thin and the festivities setting in, it’s expected that
traders will try and push the FTSE 100 above the 6,000 mark in a bout of last
minute Christmas shopping during the last full day of trading before the
holiday,” Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said.

Oil prices (CLc1: ) climbed near a two-year high, boosted by an unexpected
surge in global demand that has fuelled the biggest drop in U.S. crude
stockpiles in more than a decade.

U.S. economic data out on Thursday included November durable goods data and
the latest weekly jobless claims data, both due at 1330 GMT, with the final
reading of the December Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey
out at 1455 GMT, and November new home sales data scheduled for release at 1500
GMT.

Britain’s economy could suffer another period of contraction in 2011, the
Bank of England’s executive director for markets Paul Fisher said in a newspaper
interview. [ID:nLDE6BM00J]

* GLOBAL MRKTS-Resource stocks rise on growth view, oil up [ID:nTOE6BM00V]

* U.S. bank shares help keep alive year-end rally [ID:nN22109632]

* Oil up towards $91 on tighter US crude stocks, cold snap [ID:nL3E6NN011]

* China key money market rate jumps on cash crunch [ID:nBJD000143]

* Gold inches up, dealers expect buying on EU debt fears [ID:nL3E6NN02I]

* Copper drifts on China money drain, profit-taking [ID:nL3E6NN01R]

* TREASURIES-Steady ahead of U.S. economic data dose [ID:nL3E6NN07D]

UK stocks to watch on Thursday:

RIO TINTO (RIO.L: )

The Anglo-Australian miner has offered $3.9 billion to buy African-focused
rival Riversdale (RIV.AX: ) in an agreed deal to tap soaring demand for coking
coal but investors are betting on a possible bidding war from rival suitors.

Riversdale expects a positive reaction from its major shareholders to the
takeover bid, but has not yet heard formally whether they will accept the offer,
a senior company executive said. [ID:nL3E6NN09K]

MINERS

Australia’s government rejected a newspaper report on Thursday that its
controversial mining tax will raise $2.5 billion less in revenue in the first
two years than expected, potentially threatening the budget surplus forecast for
2012/2013. [ID:nL3E6NM1KO]

The Australian Financial Review newspaper, citing government sources, said
the 30 percent tax was now likely to raise around A$5 billion ($5 billion), less
than the A$7.4 billion last predicted and the A$10.5 billion expected in July,
as projected commodity price and volume assumptions were unrealistic.

AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS GROUP (AVN.L: )

The satellite operator holds its annual general meeting.

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times [PRESS/FT]

> Other business headlines [PRESS/GB]

(Reporting by Tricia Wright)

UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Dec 23