UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Weds Dec 29

LONDON, Dec 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index is seen opening
27-32 points, or 0.5 percent lower on Wednesday, according to financial
bookmakers, catching up with global markets after the long holiday break, with
miners expected to lead the decline following a rate hike by China.

Concerns over the demand outlook should weigh on miners following China’s
move on Christmas Day to raise interest rates by a quarter-point, the second
rise in just over two months to help cap surging inflation. [ID:nTOE6BO010]

Energy shares, however, could prove resilient as crude prices (CLc1: ) hover
near a 26-month high above $91 a barrel on hopes that a blizzard on the U.S.
East Coast will boost demand for heating oil, with U.S. inventory data awaited.

Britain’s top shares closed above the 6,000 level for the first time since
June 2008 on Friday, ending up 12.85 points, or 0.2 percent at 6,008.92, albeit
in wafer thin trade ahead of the holidays.

The blue chip index is up 8.4 percent so far this month, the strongest
December performance since 1987 when it rose 8.5 percent, and it is on course to
register an 11 percent advance overall in 2010 after a roller-coaster year.

On the macro front, house prices in England and Wales fell for a sixth
consecutive month in December to stand 1.6 percent lower than a year ago,
property data firm Hometrack said on Monday. [ID:nSLANNE6L0]

No domestic data is due for release on Wednesday, with December’s Nationwide
December house prices survey the only economic pointer expected this week, on
Friday Dec. 31.

Across the Atlantic, the latest weekly U.S. mortgage and refinancing index
is due at 1200 GMT on Wednesday.

No British corporate news is scheduled for release on Wednesday.

Ex-dividend factors will take 1.08 points off the FTSE 100 index, with
Alliance Trust (ATST.L: ), BT Group (BT.L: ), Burberry Group (BRBY.L: ) and Experian
(EXPN.L: ) all losing their payout attractions.

* S&P, Dow rise on energy, keeping rally alive [ID:nN28249896]

* GLOBAL MRKTS-Japan stocks up, miners drag on Australia [ID:nL3E6NT03N]

* Nikkei inches up; outlook bright heading into 2011 [ID:nTOE6BS01P]

* Oil tops $91 as US crude inventories seen off [ID:nL3E6NS06X]

* Dollar settles after whipsaw moves, franc shines [ID:nTOE6BS016]

* LME copper hits record after Xmas break; tracks US rally [ID:nL3E6NT01M]

* Gold steady after lackluster US data, outlook bullish [ID:nL3E6NT02D]

UK stocks to watch on Wednesday are:

ANGLO AMERICAN (AAL.L: )

The miner said on Wednesday heavy rains over the last several days have
impacted coal production at its Dawson mine in Australia’s Queensland state.
[ID:nL3E6NT04G]

BP (BP.L: )

State pension funds in Ohio and New York were named lead plaintiffs in a
shareholder suit against BP that alleges losses due to the Gulf Coast oil spill,
according to a U.S. district court ruling. [ID:nN2826408]

RETAIL

Most UK retailers are expecting lower sales in 2011 on the back of weak
consumer demand and inflationary pressures, a survey by the British Retail
Consortium said on Monday. [ID:nLDE6BQ0DE]

Meanwhile, almost a quarter less shoppers turned out for Britain’s
traditional Boxing Day retail sales this year compared with last year, a survey
by Synovate Retail Performance said on Monday. [ID:nLDE6BQ0MG]

However, British retailer John Lewis [JLP.UL] said on Tuesday it had
registered a record day of sales for a single day’s trade earlier this week.
[ID:nLDE6BR0JJ]

ASTRAZENECA (AZN.L: )

The British drugmaker has halted studies on MEDI-578, which treats nerve
growth, to assess data on the product further. [ID:nLDE6BR08B]

SMITH & NEPHEW (SN.L: )

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday warned orthopedic device
maker Smith & Nephew that it failed to establish adequate manufacturing
validation procedures for a hip replacement device. [ID:nN28251395]

RIO TINTO (RIO.L: )

India’s Tata Steel (TISC.BO: ), the largest shareholder in Africa-focused
miner Riversdale Mining (RIV.AX: ), has not yet decided whether to bid for the
company, the Indian firm’s managing director said late Monday. [ID:nBMA009215]

BSKYB (BSY.L: )

An ICM opinion poll published on Monday, commissioned by a group of rival
media firms, said there is strong public support for an independent
investigation into News Corp’s (NWSA.O: ) bid for BSkyB, newspapers said on
Monday.

BAE SYSTEMS (BAES.L: )

The defence contractor is poised to win a 1.3 billion pound ($2.01 billion)
contract to supply advanced jet fighters to Oman, The Sunday Times said.

($1=.6478 Pound)
(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)

UK Stocks — Factors to watch on Weds Dec 29