UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Wednesday Dec 8

LONDON, Dec 8 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index was set to open 19-28
points lower on Wednesday as a stronger dollar is hitting energy and metal
prices, which could dent commodity stocks.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was seen falling as much as 0.5 percent after it
added 38.17 points, or 0.7 percent, on Tuesday to close at 5,808.45, its highest
finish since Nov. 15.

U.S. government bonds extended sharp losses on Wednesday after President
Obama proposed a deal to extend tax cuts that would support economic growth but
raise national debt levels in the longer term.

This pushed the dollar higher against the yen and the euro, pressuring
commodities priced in the greenback with metals down broadly and crude oil
(CLc1: ) off 1.2 percent.

British shop price inflation dipped in November as retailers offered
discounts in the run up to Christmas, but it is likely to rise in 2011 due to a
hike in VAT and expected higher energy costs, data from the British Retail
Consortium showed. [ID:nLDE6B61HM]

Also offering mixed signals on the UK economy, employment for both permanent
and temporary staff in Britain grew at its fastest pace in three months in
November, though pay growth remained weak, the Recruitment and Employment
Confederation said. [ID:nLDE6B61WR]

Ireland will also be in focus on Wednesday, after the country’s parliament
passed the first in a series of resolutions underpinning the 2011 budget late on
Tuesday, marking the first step in a lengthy approval process.

The tough budget targets 6 billion euros in spending cuts and tax hikes, and
the Irish government warned passage was crucial to avert a deeper debt crisis.

3i Group (III.L: ), Associated British Foods (ABF.L: ), Investec (INVP.L: ) and
Vedanta Resources (VED.L: ) will all go ex-dividend, knocking a total of 0.53
point off the index.

* US STOCKS-Spike in rates, insider probe derail rally [ID:nN0798350]

* GLOBAL MARKETS-US bond selloff continues, lifts dollar [ID:nL3E6N8042]

* Nikkei hits 7-mth high on weaker yen [ID:nTOE6B701Y]

* Dollar presses higher on yield gain, euro sags [ID:nTOE6B703B]

* US 10-yr Treasury yield hits new 5-1/2 month high [ID:nTKW007193]

* Gold slips below record; silver steadies [ID:nL3E6N802Z]

* Oil falls 2nd day on stronger dollar, U.S. tax cuts [ID:nL3E6N807Y]

* Copper shrinks from record highs on technical selling [ID:nL3E6N802L]

Stocks to watch on Wednesday are:

BP (BP.L: ), ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (RDSa.L: )

W&T Offshore Inc (WTI.N: ) said on Tuesday that BP told it that the company is
exercising its right to buy Shell Offshore Inc’s stake in two deepwater fields
in the Gulf of Mexico. [ID:nN0790206]

RIO TINTO (RIO.L: )

Global miner Rio Tinto has resumed partial coal-mining operations in
Australia’s Queensland state after disruptions due to heavy rains, but the firm
has yet to determine the full impact of the weather problems, it said.
[ID:nL3E6N71S0]

BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAY.L: )

A union of Finnish airline mechanics said on Tuesday it would not service
aircraft of British Airways and several other carriers at Helsinki airport to
help Finnair’s (FIA1S.HE: ) striking cabin crews. [ID:nLDE6AA19I]

SMITH & NEPHEW (SN.L: )

The Daily Mail’s market report notes speculation of a 7.1 billion pound, or
8 pounds-a-share cash offer from a U.S. consortium of private equity players for
the maker of replacement knees and hips.

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (RBS.L: )

The chairman of Britain’s financial regulator defended its decision to clear
the former head of bailed-out bank Royal Bank of Scotland of wrongdoing, but
said “rules to keep bankers honest” were needed. [ID:nLDE6B700F]

STAGECOACH GROUP (SGC.L: )

The transport company releases first half results.

KESA ELECTRICALS (KESA.L: )

The retail group releases first half results.

CARILLION (CLLN.L: )

The infrastructure company releases a trading update.

GAME GROUP (GMG.L: )

The video games group releases a trading update.

MICRO FOCUS INTERNATIONAL (MCRO.L: )

The company releases first half reulsts.

(Reporting by Simon Falush)

UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Wednesday Dec 8