February 8, 2018 / 7:45 AM / in 8 months

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 8

(Adds company news items and futures)

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 56 points at 7,223.2 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.8 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* THOMAS COOK: British travel company Thomas Cook said it was on track to meet forecasts for its current financial year due to growth in its airline business and as it adds more holidays to Egypt and Turkey.

* TALKTALK: Broadband provider TalkTalk said it would raise up to 200 million pounds ($278 million) through a placing to strengthen its balance sheet after a drive to invest in the business forced it to cut its full-year earnings forecast.

* SMITH & NEPHEW: Artificial hip and knee maker Smith & Nephew scraped into the bottom of its guidance range for 2017, with a 3 percent rise in revenue to $4.77 billion pounds and a 20 basis point increase in its trading margin, resulting in profit of $1.05 billion.

* ASHMORE: Emerging markets-focused fund manager Ashmore on Thursday posted an 18 percent rise in ‍assets under management to $69.5 billion, buoyed by net inflows of new client money and market gains.

* AA PLC: Roadside recovery firm and insurer AA expects full-year core profit of 390-395 million pounds ($542-549 million), in line with guidance given last year, it said on Thursday.

* COMPASS GROUP: Compass Group Plc, the world’s biggest catering firm, said it expected full-year organic revenue growth to be at the higher end of its forecast, helped by continued strength in North America and better-than-expected performance in Europe.

* TATE & LYLE: British food ingredients maker Tate & Lyle Plc said it remained on track to deliver profit growth for 2018 in line with guidance after sales volumes picked up pace in the three months to December.

* BEAZLEY: Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley Plc reported a 43 percent fall in annual pretax profit as hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfire cost the sector over $135 billion, but the company said it saw potential for double-digit premium growth this year.

* BELLWAY: British housebuilder Bellway Plc said on Thursday it expected an over 14 percent rise in housing revenue in the first half, as it sold more homes at higher prices.

* GKN-MELROSE: The hostile takeover pursuit of engineering company GKN by Melrose Industries is receiving close attention from the British government, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

* RBS: Lawmakers have ordered Britain’s financial markets regulator to publish by Feb. 16 its full report into how Royal Bank of Scotland allegedly mistreated small businesses.

* PETRA DIAMONDS: African miner Petra Diamonds is likely to strike a deal with its lenders that could include a waiver or a reset of its debt covenants within the next month, its chief executive Johan Dippenaar said.

* BRITAIN FCA: Britain’s markets watchdog warned banks on Wednesday it would intervene if they use concerns over customer account security as an excuse to stifle competition on the high street.

* BRITAIN BOE: The Bank of England is expected to say on Thursday that another interest rate increase could be nearing as Britain’s economy grows faster than expected ahead of its departure from the European Union in just over a year’s time.

* BRITAIN HOUSEPRICES: British house prices recorded modest growth last month, though they are still falling in London where expensive property is struggling to sell for its asking price, an industry survey showed on Thursday.

* OIL: Oil prices eased on Thursday, taking Brent crude to a 2018 low, as soaring U.S. output undermined OPEC’s efforts to tighten markets and prop up prices.

* GOLD: Gold prices dropped on Thursday for a third consecutive day, holding near four-week lows hit in the previous session, on a firmer greenback amid expectations of more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.

* EX-DIVS: Sage Group will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.43 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.

* The UK blue chip FTSE 100 index closed up 1.9 percent at 7,279.42 points on Wednesday, rising from 10-month lows as shares in financials gained ground.

* 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 Siju Varghese)

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