UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Feb 1

LONDON, Feb 1 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index is seen opening
down 35-45 points, or as much as 0.9 percent lower on Monday, according to
financial bookmakers, reversing Friday’s rally and tracking weakness in Asia and
on Wall Street.

Commodity issues are likely to lead the retreat as the price of crude oil
(CLc1: ) and metals fall back on concerns about global growth and sluggish demand.

Fresh economic data out of China, the world’s second-largest energy
consumer, heightened concerns that Beijing would further tighten monetary
policy. [ID:nTOE61003S]

An official purchasing managers index on Monday remained firmly in
expansionary territory, while a companion poll by HSBC scaled an all-time high
— with both reports showing evidence of a further increase in cost pressures.

The UK blue chip index closed 42.78 points, or 0.8 percent higher, on Friday
at 5,188.52 as banks and mining issues rebounded from sharp losses in the
previous session helped by encouraging U.S. data.

But U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) turned around from early gains to end lower on Friday as a
drop in technology issues pushed the S&P 500 to its worst monthly decline since
February 2009.

Most domestic macro attention this week will be on the Bank of England
interest rate decision, due at midday on Thursday, with not a lot of economic
data due to provide further clues to economy’s health ahead of that outcome.

House prices in England and Wales fell in January at their slowest annual
rate since March 2008, according to property data company Hometrack on Monday.

Hometrack said house prices rose 0.1 percent on the month in January to stand
0.8 percent lower than a year ago. That followed a 1.9 percent annual decline in
December. [ID:nLDE60S160]

January CIPS manufacturing PMI data, however, are due for release at 0928
GMT on Monday, with December Bank of England consumer credit and mortgage
lending numbers scheduled for release at 0930 GMT.

Across the Atlantic, the main focus will be on the January U.S. jobs report,
due on Friday, with December personal income and personal consumption numbers
scheduled for release at 1330 GMT on Monday, and December construction spending
and January’s ISM report due out at 1500 GMT.

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares fall; U.S. dollar firms [ID:nSGE60U02V]

* US STOCKS-Wall St falls on euro-zone worry, tech slide [ID:nN29166252]

* Tokyo’s Nikkei share average closes up 0.07 pct [ID:nECB001109]

* FOREX-Dollar keeps broad gains, euro teeters at 7-mth low [ID:nTOE61001R]

* TREASURIES-Prices gain on stock losses, fiscal worries [ID:nN29568343]

* Oil extends decline towards $72, worries over demand [ID:nSGE61007M]

* PRECIOUS-Gold near $1,080, dollar rise, US bank plan weigh [ID:nTOE61003Q]

* METALS-LME copper prices off for fifth day on long selling [ID:nSGE610017]

UK stocks to watch on Monday are:

VEDANTA RESOURCES (VED.L: )

The London-listed mining group is considering a spinoff of up to six of its
businesses to boost its overall market value, the Independent on Sunday
reported, citing unnamed bankers. [ID:nLDE60U0G7]

XSTRATA (XTA.L: )

The world’s top thermal coal exporter, is considering up to A$15 billion
($13.3 billion) investment to boost output at its Australian thermal coal
project to 100 million tonnes a year, it said on Monday. [ID:nSGE61000R]

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (RDSa.L: )

The Anglo-Dutch oil group said on Sunday it had shut down three pumping
stations in Nigeria’s Niger Delta after a key crude oil pipeline was sabotaged.
[ID:nLDE60U0KC]

HSBC (HSBA.L: )

HSBC is happy with its stake in Bank of Communications (3328.HK: )(601328.SS: )
as its primary investment vehicle in China, HSBC chief executive Michael
Geoghegan said on Monday, speaking in an interview on CNBC. [ID:nTOE61001Q]

Geoghegan made his comments after the Sunday Telegraph reported that the
British lender was considering a bid for a major Chinese bank to reinforce its
presence in the country as other foreign lenders retrenched. [ID:nLDE60U0EZ]

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (RBS.L: )

JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N: ) only wants the non-U.S. operations of RBS Sempra,
Royal Bank of Scotland’s commodities unit, having previously entered talks to
buy the whole business, energy news service SparkSpread reported.
[ID:nLDE60U0D6]

Also, RBS is considering selling and leasing back Gogarburn, its main
headquarters in Scotland, as part of a reassessment of its 4 billion pound
property portfolio, the Daily Telegraph said on Monday.

GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK.L: )

Britain’s biggest drugs company, which reports fourth-quarter results this
Thursday, plans to cut more costs with the loss of several thousand jobs as
competition from new generic drugs weighs on sales, several newspapers reported
on Sunday. [ID:nLDE60U0ED]

PETROFAC (PFC.L: )

The oil services provider is seeking to realise the value of its energy
investments by spinning off its North Sea oil and gas assets, the Financial
Times said on Monday.

BT GROUP (BT.L: )

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said on Sunday the
Conservative Party would loosen BT’s hold on the local telephone network and
support changes to the regulatory framework to allow private investors to pay
for better broadband cabling, The Guardian said on Monday.

NORTHUMBRIAN WATER (NWG.L: )

The water group could receive a 1.7 billion pound takeover offer from
Canadian pension fund, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which already holds a
27 percent stake in Northumbrian, the Sunday Times reported, citing unnamed
sources. [ID:nLDE60U0FQ]

Northumbrian Water holds its annual general meeting on Monday.

SABMILLER (SAB.L: )

The UK-based brewer is thought to be planning a takeover bid for the
German-owned brewer Isenbeck, which operates in South America, The Sunday
Telegraph said.

BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAY.L: )

The planned alliance between British Airways, American Airlines (AMR.N: ) and
Iberia (IBLA.MC: ) has moved closer to securing regulatory approval, after the
European Commission confirmed it had begun consulting with rival airlines, the
Financial Times said on Monday.

RYANAIR (RYA.I: )

The Irish airline has increased its profit forecast for the year after
posting a narrower-than-expected third-quarter net loss of 10.9 million euros
($15.30 million), compared with a 118.8 million euro net loss a year earlier, as
fares fell less than earlier projected. [ID:nDUB003166]

SERCO (SRP.L: )

The support services firm is believed to be the front-runner to win a 200
million pound contract from the Defence Ministry to provide support services to
British servicemen in Cyprus, the Independent on Sunday said.

ITV (ITV.L: )

A group of shareholders in the broadcaster are attempting to pressure the
company into splitting off the production arm from the broadcasting operations
in order to increase the value of the company, the Observer said.

PREMIER FOODS (PFD.L: )

Premier Foods’chairman David Kappler is expected to stand down at the
group’s annual meeting this year, with an announcement expected as early as next
week, The Sunday Times said.

STHREE (STHR.L: )

The recruitment firms posts full-year results.

FORMATION GROUP (FRM.L: )

The sports and talent management agency reports full-year results.

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(Reporting by Jon Hopkins; Editing by Atul Prakash)

UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Feb 1