February 5, 2015 / 7:29 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Thursday Feb 5

(Adds company news)

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 40 to 48 points, or as much as 0.7 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The FTSE 100 index closed down by 0.2 percent at 6,860.02 points, retreating from 5-month highs after oil stocks slipped and investment company Hargreaves Lansdown fell following a fall in profits.

* BT - BT said on Thursday it had agreed to buy mobile operator EE for 12.5 billion pounds ($19 billion), and would raise 1 billion pounds through a placing of new shares to fund the deal.

* VODAFONE - A steady recovery in Europe helped Vodafone to stem the rate of sales decline in its third quarter, putting the world’s second biggest mobile operator in touching distance of overall revenue growth once again.

Vodafone also said that the BT deal for EE requires scrutiny, as it would become the dominant player in Britain.

* TESCO - Britain’s grocery industry watchdog said on Thursday it had launched an investigation into supermarket Tesco’s supplier practices which have resulted in delayed payments.

* ASTRAZENECA - AstraZeneca said on Thursday it had agreed to buy Actavis’ branded respiratory drug business in the United States and Canada for an initial payment of $600 million as it seeks external deals to ensure growth.

The announcement came as Britain’s second-biggest drugmaker posted fourth-quarter results that fell short of expectations.

* COMPASS GROUP - Compass Group, the world’s biggest catering firm, maintained its full-year outlook after seeing a return to growth in Europe and Japan, but warned that lower oil prices may impact its oil extraction-related business.

* SMITH & NEPHEW - British artificial hip and knee maker Smith & Nephew posted a 7 percent rise in trading profit in the fourth quarter, and said it was confident it would grow both revenue and its trading profit margin in 2015.

* DAIRY CREST - Dairy Crest Group Plc, Britain’s largest dairy food company, said its cheese and spreads businesses performed robustly while dairies business had continued to make losses in the nine months ended Dec. 31.

* BP - A U.S. investigation into oil major BP breaking anti-fraud and reporting rules on using oil pipelines is related to crude shipped on Enbridge Inc’s Mainline system, Enbridge said on Wednesday.

* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - The United Steelworkers union (USW) said a new contract offer was made by lead oil company negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc on Wednesday night as a strike by U.S. refinery workers ended its fourth day.

* IMPERIAL TOBACCO - Imperial Tobacco Group is launching a new e-cigarette in France next week, giving the big tobacco firm a lifestyle brand in addition to its existing brand Puritane, marketed more as a healthcare product.


> 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 Alistair Smout; Editing by Blaise Robinson)

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