February 9, 2017 / 7:52 AM / in 8 months

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

(Adds futures, company news items)

Feb 9 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 1 to 8 points higher, or as much as 0.1 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.1 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* The UK blue chip index closed flat in percentage terms at 7,188.82 points on Wednesday, underperforming European peers, as a drop in energy stock prices prompted by oil price weakness offset a rally led by housing stocks.

* ASHMORE: Fund manager Ashmore Group posted an above-forecast 32 percent rise in first-half core profit to 89.7 million pounds ($112.19 million) following strong investment returns in emerging markets, it said on Thursday.

* THOMAS COOK: Tour operator Thomas Cook said on Thursday that summer bookings were ahead of last year, after it responded to the security turmoil of 2016 by expanding its presence in Greece, Portugal and Croatia.

* HENDERSON GROUP: Investment manager Henderson Group on Thursday posted a 10 percent rise in total assets under management to 101 billion pounds ($126.39 billion) in 2016, after market gains more than offset demand from retail clients to pull money from its funds.

* SMITH & NEPHEW: Smith & Nephew, Europe’s biggest artificial hip and knee maker, reported a 7 percent drop in full-year trading profit, missing average forecasts, as tough market conditions in China and the Gulf States kept growth in check.

* TATE & LYLE: Tate & Lyle, the British food ingredients maker, raised its expectations for the full financial year on Thursday, citing strong performance in its third quarter.

* BHP: BHP Billiton on Thursday approved its $2.2 billion share of investment for the second phase of the Mad Dog oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico, as expected.

* GSK: GlaxoSmithKline and Gilead Sciences will vie for business in treating HIV patients next week when both companies unveil clinical trial results at a medical meeting in Seattle.

* ICAG: British Airways and Iberia owner IAG is looking to offer low-cost long-haul flights from airports other than Barcelona in its efforts to compete on trans-Atlantic routes.

* CENTRICA: Britain’s Centrica has created a new global division to focus on end-consumers in a strategy shift away from its core energy production business that will also merge its British and North American segments, the company said on Wednesday.

* UK MOTOR INSURANCE: Britain plans to introduce new insurance rules to ensure victims of accidents involving self-driving cars are compensated quickly in a bid to remove a major obstacle for the nascent industry.

* ASDA: Wal-Mart is throwing its weight as the world’s largest retailer behind its struggling British arm Asda after admitting it was too slow to respond effectively to the threat posed by the discount supermarkets.

* EX-DIVS: Sage Group and Unilever will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 1.7 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets

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 * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Rahul B and Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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