January 8, 2020 / 7:49 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Jan. 8

(Adds company news items and futures)

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 28 points lower at 7,546 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.4% ahead of the cash market open.

* SAINSBURY’S: Sainsbury’s, Britain’s No. 2 supermarket group, reported a small fall in underlying sales in the key Christmas quarter, with a solid performance from food more than offset by a weak general merchandise market.

* GREGGS: British baker and takeaway food group Greggs, home of the vegan-friendly sausage roll, said its annual profit would be higher than expected and it would make a special bonus payment to staff to reflect an “exceptional year”.

* OFCOM: Britain’s telecoms regulator said it would “supercharge” investment in fibre broadband networks with major proposals to change regulation of the national Openreach network owned by BT.

* FINABLR: Finablr Plc said on Wednesday its foreign exchange firm Travelex had confirmed that a software virus that forced it to take its systems offline at the end of December was a ransomware known as Sodinokibi.

* BREEDON GROUP: British construction materials firm Breedon Group Plc said it would buy certain UK assets and operations from Mexico’s CEMEX SAB de CV for 178 million pounds ($233.79 million), strengthening its position in Britain and Ireland.

* NMC HEALTH: Two investors of NMC Health Plc are selling shares worth 374 million pounds ($490 million) in the healthcare group, a bookrunner for the deal said on Tuesday, weeks after short-selling firm Muddy Waters questioned the company’s finances.

* BARCLAYS: A group of Barclays shareholders coordinated by responsible investment lobby group ShareAction want the bank to phase out financing fossil fuels, stepping up pressure on one of Europe’s biggest funders of the sector.

* INSURERS: Britain’s markets watchdog has told the bosses of commercial insurance companies to stamp out bad behavior in the industry and improve diversity, or risk losing their jobs.

* BHP: Copper output slumped at Chile’s state miner Codelco and BHP’s sprawling Escondida mine in November, according to Chile state copper agency Cochilco, amid a turbulent month of riots and mass protests that rocked the mineral-rich South American nation.

* WOODFORD: The frozen LF Woodford Income Focus fund, formerly run by veteran money manager Neil Woodford, will change its name to reflect its change of management and have a lower returns target, its authorized corporate director Link Fund Solutions said on Tuesday.

* OIL: Oil markets calmed after on Wednesday after prices had jumped to their highest in months in the wake of a rocket attack by Iran on American forces in Iraq that raised the spectre of a spiralling conflict and disrupted crude supplies.

* GOLD: Gold soared as much as 2% to vault over the $1,600 ceiling for the first time in nearly seven years, as investors flocked to safe havens, after Iran launched retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. forces in Iraq.

* British bluechips handed back gains as falls in oil majors offset relief over the absence of an immediate escalation in Middle East tension, but a report that Britain’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit had been halted aided domestic stocks.

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Shanima A and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru)

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