UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Monday Dec 13

LONDON, Dec 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index is seen opening
up 14-18 points, or as much as 0.3 percent on Monday, according to financial
bookmakers, extending last week’s advance in tandem with gains on Wall Street
and in Asia following some reassuring economic data.

The UK blue chip index closed up 4.99 points, or 0.1 percent on Friday at
5,812.95, having notched up a 1.2 percent gain over the week, buoyed by firmer
mining stocks with copper near record highs, and after encouraging U.S. data.

In the latest signs of improvement in the U.S. economic recovery, a
Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment rose more than
expected in early December, while the U.S. trade deficit narrowed much more than
expected in October. [ID:nN10163525].

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Friday, with the S&P 500 reaching its highest level
since the week Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, and breaching technical levels
that suggest the year-end rally will persist.

Asian stocks chalked up modest gains on Monday helped by the U.S. data and
after inflation news from China failed to spark any rate rise.

Chinese leaders said on Sunday they will ratchet up efforts to quell
inflation in 2011 in response to data showing the country’s rate of inflation
soared past forecasts to a 28-month high of 5.1 percent in November.

Ahead of the data, the Chinese central bank raised the minimum amount of
money lenders must keep in reserve for a third time in a month. Beijing,
however, held back from lifting interest rates.

Other data published over the weekend showed China’s industrial output in
November beat expectations with a slight acceleration to 13.3 percent
year-on-year growth from 13.1 percent in October, sending copper to a record
high.

On the domestic front, asking prices for homes in England and Wales have
fallen 3.0 percent over the past month to stand just 0.4 percent higher than a
year ago, due to economic uncertainty and low mortgage approvals, property
website Rightmove said on Monday. [ID:nLDE6B81E9]

No other British macroeconomic data is due for release on Monday, but it
will be a busy week with the latest inflation, unemployment, and retail sales
numbers all scheduled.

It will be a similar story across the Atlantic, with no U.S. data due on
Monday but retail sales and inflation numbers due later in the week.

The main focus, however, will be on the latest Federal Reserve Open Market
Committee meeting on Tuesday, although no change to U.S. monetary policy is
expected, with the central bank having already having embarked on a second round
of quantitative easing.

* Wall St rises on upbeat data, S&P holds key level [ID:nN10145448]

* Asian stocks rise, dollar up on upbeat U.S. data [ID:nL3E6NC09R]

* Nikkei edges higher on yen, firmer China shares [ID:nTOE6BC02Y]

* U.S. 10-year bond yields hit new 6-month high [ID:nTKW007197]

* Euro sags in downtrend, dollar lacks drive [ID:nTOE6BC048]

* Copper near record on China data [ID:nL3E6ND01K]

* Oil up as OPEC output unchanged, eyeing China [ID:nL3E6ND04F]

* Gold up on physical buying; China, U.S. data weigh [ID:nL3E6ND02Q]

UK stocks to watch on Monday are:

RECKITT BENCKISER (RB.L: )

The British consumer goods company said on Sunday it agreed to buy
privately-held Indian firm Paras Pharmaceuticals for 32.6 billion rupees ($726
million). [ID:nN12174631]

WELLSTREAM (WSM.L: )

General Electric (GE.N: ) could unveil a 755 million pound-plus takeover of
the British oilfield services company as early as Monday, the Financial Times
said on Sunday.[ID:nLDE6BC003]

CAPITAL SHOPPING CENTRES (CSCG.L: )

Capital Shopping Centres (CSCG.L: ) has slammed as “incapable of
implementation and completely impracticable” an alternative funding offer from
its shareholder and would-be bidder Simon Property (SPG.N: ). Earlier on
Sunday, Simon Property had pitched to CSC’s board a plan to help fund the UK
firm’s 1.6-billion-pound ($2.53 billion) mall acquisition, which it argues
offers better terms while potentially lifting Simon’s stake in CSC up to 27
percent. [ID:nN12252718]

PRUDENTIAL (PRU.L: )

Asian insurance group AIA (1299.HK: ) said it has little interest in bidding
for the Far East assets of Prudential, quashing speculation that it could take
over Britain’s biggest insurer, the Sunday Telegraph reported. [ID:nLDE6BB07I]

DIAGEO (DGE.L: )

The drinks firm is in preliminary talks to buy Turkish spirits company Mey
Icki, people familiar with the matter said, as part of the push by the world’s
biggest drinks company into high-growth emerging markets. [ID:nLDE6B90GK]

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP (LLOY.L: ), RBS (RBS.L: )

Lord Myners, City minister in the last government and a key figure in the
financial bail-outs at the height of the global crisis, has called for a
break-up of Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) and Royal Bank of Scotland
(RBS.L: ), The Financial Times said on Monday.

RIO TINTO (RIO.L: )

The global miner may sell some aluminium smelters and refineries with
limited growth potential, and is considering a major capital investment at its
Alcan unit, Chief Financial Officer Guy Elliott told The Australian newspaper.
[ID:nL3E6NC07T]

Also, Rio Tinto said Monday that heavy rain in central Queensland on
Friday and Saturday has continued to impact its coal mining operations in
Australia. [ID:nSYU010737]

BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAY.L: )

The airline is discussing changes to its pension scheme rules that would
enable it to slash its pension shortfall almost in half, The Financial Times
said on Monday.

PUNCH TAVERNS (PUB.L: )

Punch Taverns is considering defaulting on loans on more than 5,000 pubs to
force bondholders to take possession of the pubs or allow the company to take
them back on improved terms, the Sunday Times reported. [ID:nLDE6BB08G]

HAYS (HAS.L: )

The British recruiter Hays is close to announcing a strategic push into
China as its seeks to become the biggest recruitment consultancy in the country,
the Sunday Telegraph reported. [ID:nLDE6BB07Q]

UTILITIES

German utility E.ON (EONGn.DE: ) has granted a consortium of foreign bidders
exclusive rights to make an offer for Britain’s second-largest electricity
distribution network, the Sunday Times reported. [ID:nLDE6BB0B1]

Also, British energy regulator Ofgem has ordered a review of pension
liabilities of some of the UK’s biggest gas and electricity companies, the
Independent on Sunday reported. [ID:nLDE6BB0BH]

POLAR CAPITAL TECHNOLOGY TRUST (PCT.L: )

The technology investment firm posts first-half results.

PERSONAL ASSETS TRUST (PNL.L: )

The investment group holds an extraordinary general meeting.

(Reporting by Jon Hopkins; Editing by Hans Peters)

UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Monday Dec 13