July 31, 2019 / 7:04 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on July 31

(Adds company news items and futures)

July 31 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were down 0.15% ahead of the cash market open on Wednesday.

* ST. JAMES’S PLACE: British wealth manager St. James’s Place said on Wednesday that weaker client sentiment weighed on inflows of new money in the first half of the year while costs rose, leading it to miss forecasts for operating profit.

* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP: Britain’s biggest mortgage lender Lloyds Banking Group posted weaker-than-expected pretax profits on Wednesday, as a further 550 million pound ($668.9 million) provision to meet claims for mis-sold insurance to consumers weighed on earnings.

* ASTON MARTIN: Aston Martin swung to a half-year pretax loss of 78.8 million pounds ($95.8 million) as profits were hit by expansion costs, lower average selling prices and weaker-than-anticipated volumes, the luxury British carmaker said on Wednesday.

* NEXT: British clothing chain Next upgraded its forecast for full-year sales and profit after a stronger-than-expected second quarter performance, particularly in July, which saw a 6.8% rise in full prices sales against the same month last year.

* GLENCORE: Miner and trader Glencore on Wednesday said its African copper business had failed to meet expected operational performance, and its first-half copper output was around 5% lower than last year, although cobalt was 28% higher.

* SERCO: British public-services outsourcer Serco reported a 29% jump in first-half underlying trading profit driven by its American business and said on Wednesday it was confident of growing faster than the market for the next two years.

* JUST EAT: British food delivery firm Just Eat Plc on Wednesday said its core profit dropped 16% in the first half of the year, as it increased spending on the rollout of its delivery services.

* BAE SYSTEMS: BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence company, said operational improvements in its first half drove a 9% rise in core earnings to 999 million pounds ($1.21 billion), underpinning its guidance for the full year.

* COUNTRYWIDE: British real estate agent Countrywide Plc’s on Wednesday reported a sharp fall in core earnings in the first half of the year, blaming the impact of Brexit-related uncertainties on residential and commercial property markets.

* SMITH & NEPHEW: Smith & Nephew on Wednesday forecast higher full-year revenue after reporting a better-than-expected first-half profit, boosted by higher demand for its artificial hips and knees as well as sports injury treatments, especially in emerging markets.

* INTU PROPERTIES: British mall operator Intu Properties Plc on Wednesday reported a lower first-half net rental income, as retail store closures continue to weigh on its portfolio and said it expects like-for-like net rental income to be moderately down in 2020.

* MAN GROUP: British hedge fund manager Man Group on Wednesday reported a 5% increase to its assets under management in the first half of 2019, even as it saw an increased outflow of client cash.

* DIRECT LINE: Direct Line, Britain’s largest motor insurer, reported a 10.2% fall in first-half profit on Wednesday but pushed its dividend marginally higher as its overall number of policies in force fell in a very competitive UK market.

* TAYLOR WIMPEY: Britain’s third-largest homebuilder Taylor Wimpey Plc reported lower first-half pretax profit on Wednesday, hit by higher costs, but said demand for homes was strong.

* DIGNITY: Dignity Plc said on Wednesday it was temporarily suspending its dividend payments after profits nearly halved in the first half of 2019, due to a drop in the number of funerals it conducted.

* INDIVIOR: Drugmaker Indivior Plc reported a 14% rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, as its best-selling opioid addiction drug Suboxone lost market share to generic rivals at a slower pace, than the company’s previous modelling had expected.

* ROLLS-ROYCE: Indian federal police have opened an investigation into Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, alleging the UK-based engine maker and its Indian arm improperly used a third-party to conduct business with three Indian state-owned companies.

* LLOYDS BANKING: Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group is in exclusive talks to buy a 3.7 billion pound mortgage book from supermarket giant Tesco’s banking arm, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

* OIL: Oil prices rose for a fifth day on Wednesday, buoyed by a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. inventories and as investors awaited a widely expected cut in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, the first in more than 10 years.

* GOLD: Gold prices inched down on Wednesday as the dollar held firm, while investors waited on the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s meeting later in the day when policymakers are expected to cut interest rates.

* London’s FTSE 100 index ended lower on Tuesday, giving up earlier gains as the mood soured in response to worries over U.S.-China trade and as major British banks fell after the Bank of England issued a new plan to handle potential banking crises.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:

TODAY’S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Siju Varghese in Bengaluru)

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