UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 23

Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 13 points, or 0.2 percent lower, on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.2 percent ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.1 percent on Tuesday at 6,192.74, as investors flocked to safe haven assets after travel and leisure stocks fell following explosions at Brussels airport and a metro station in the city.

* BRUSSELS: Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed at least 30 people, with police hunting a suspect who fled the air terminal.

* LSEG: Some of Deutsche Boerse AG’s largest shareholders are cautioning the company’s management to not overpay for London Stock Exchange Group Plc if a company was to make a rival bid, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/1Reo5yL)

* LLOYD’S OF LONDON: The Lloyd’s of London insurance market reported a 30 percent drop in pre-tax profit to 2.1 billion pounds on Wednesday, hit by a fall in investment returns and pressure on prices.

* KINGFISHER: Kingfisher Plc, Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, beat forecasts with a 0.3 percent rise in annual profit, though it said it remained cautious on the outlook for France, its most profitable market.

* SPORTS DIRECT: Sports Direct International Plc, Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer, said on Wednesday it expected its full-year core earnings to come in at or around the bottom of a previously announced range.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca said on Wednesday its blood-thinning drug Brilinta failed to help stroke patients as hoped in a major clinical trial, dealing a blow to a product viewed as an important driver of future sales and profits.

* WILLIAM HILL PLC: British bookmaker William Hill Plc said it expected full-year operating profit to be lower than last year and that it was in advanced discussions to invest in gaming software company Openbet.

* IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES: Apple Inc said on Tuesday it had talked about buying its supplier Imagination Technologies but did not plan to make an offer for the British graphics chip designer at the moment.

* FASTJET: Stelios Haji-Ioannou, owner of easyGroup Holdings Ltd, said in a letter to the board of Fastjet Plc that the African budget airline was in breach of two clauses of a license agreement.

* TRAVEL/LEISURE STOCKS: Britain is advising its citizens to avoid all but essential travel to Brussels, Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman said on Tuesday, after attacks on the city’s airport and a rush-hour metro train killed at least 30 people.

* European shares fell slightly on Tuesday as losses among travel and leisure stocks after the deadly attacks in Brussels were partly offset by gains in technology and autos.

* FINTECH: Financial regulators in Australia and United Kingdom signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday to help financial technology companies expand into each other’s markets, Australia’s securities watchdog said.

* ALCOHOL MAKERS: Britain’s wine and spirits industry will see jobs and investment threatened if the UK quits the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron is claiming, Sky News reported. (bit.ly/1RxBA8u)

* BUDGET: British finance minister George Osborne defended his economic record on Tuesday, hitting back at critics of last week’s budget which prompted a crisis in Prime Minister David Cameron’s party ahead of a June 23 referendum on European Union membership.

* BREXIT: The attacks in Brussels on Tuesday spilled over into Britain’s political row over whether to remain in the European Union, with advocates for leaving claiming the bloc’s open border policy allowed for the killings to take place.

* BREXIT: Support for Britain to leave the European Union stood at 43 percent, 2 percentage points ahead of support for staying in the 28-member bloc, an ICM opinion poll suggested on Tuesday.

* GOLD: Spot gold edged lower on Wednesday, with the impact of a stronger dollar outweighing a slight swell in the metal’s safe-haven appeal after attacks on an airport and a rush-hour metro train in Brussels.

* COPPER: London copper held around recent highs on Wednesday, underpinned by signs of a revival in China’s housing market, but trade was expected to tail off ahead of Easter holidays later this week.

* OIL: Oil prices fell in early Asian trading on Wednesday after figures from an industry group showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose last week more than expected, reinforcing concerns that supply continues to exceed demand.

* BP expects oil demand growth to continue this year, the group’s chief economist Spencer Dale told a presentation in Moscow on Wednesday.

[Source:- Reuters]