March 9, 2016 / 7:28 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 9

(Adds futures in paragraph 1, G4S item)

March 9 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening unchanged to up by 0.1 percent on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.21 percent ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.9 percent lower at 6,125.44 on Tuesday, as big mining companies came under pressure after a report showed exports had fallen in China, the world's biggest consumer of metals.

* G4S: G4S, the world's largest security firm, said it planned to exit a number of its businesses in the next two years as part of an ongoing restructuring plan, after it posted 5.7 percent rise in full-year profit to 427 million pounds.

* LSEG: Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange are targeting cost savings of more than 300 million euros ($331 million) once a merger of the two exchanges is completed, three people familiar with the matter said.

* TESCO: Britain's biggest supermarket group Tesco is looking to buy O2 out of a joint venture by acquiring the part of Tesco Mobile it does not already own, the Telegraph reported. (bit.ly/1Xbb3SK)

* BANK OF ENGLAND: The Bank of England (BoE) is still more likely to raise interest rates than to cut them over the next two years, and has plenty of scope to stimulate the economy if needed, central bank policymaker Martin Weale said.

Weale also said a recent recovery in oil and commodity prices confirmed his view that the sell-off in financial markets at the start of 2016, which some investors saw as a warning sign about the world economy, was speculative.

* CHINA: China can accept slightly lower economic growth as long as employment remains stable and incomes continue to rise, a senior official of the country's cabinet research unit said on Wednesday.

* GOLD: Gold edged lower on Wednesday, slipping with the euro as expectations that the European Central Bank is almost certain to ease policy this week weighed on the single currency.

* COPPER: London copper was steady on Wednesday, after prices fell the most in a day since November in the previous session when grim Chinese trade data for February renewed fears over economic growth in the world's top consumer of metals.

* COMMODITIES/IRAN: Global oil traders have entered into rare barter deals with the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC), supplying Iran with much-needed gasoline in exchange for high-quality fuel oil, after most economic sanctions against Tehran were lifted in January.

Commodity traders Swiss-based Vitol and Glencore, for example, have won the right to lift a combined total of at least 200,000 tonnes per month of Iranian fuel oil from March through May, according to four trading sources with knowledge of the deals.

* OIL: Oil prices were only slightly higher on Wednesday as support from falling U.S. production was countered by a strengthening U.S.-dollar and concerns over slowing demand.

* BREXIT: All alternatives to Britain's membership of the European Union are second best and risk damaging the competitiveness of the City of London's finance industry, although Brexit would not be ruinous for the economy, TheCityUK lobby said.

* ECB: Financial markets expect the European Central Bank to cut its deposit rate by at least 10 basis points and expand its asset-buying programme this week, but they still do not expect it to hit its inflation target in the near future.

* CHINA DRUGS/IMPORTS: China has signaled its intent to cut prices of medicines used to treat serious diseases, such as cancer, as part of a wider drive to reduce the cost of healthcare for patients in the world's second-biggest economy.

China's cancer drug market is led by Swiss firm Roche Holding AG, followed by China's Qilu Pharmaceutical, Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, Jilin Aodong Pharmaceutical Group and Britain's AstraZeneca Plc , Deutsche Bank said in a 2015 report.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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