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25-01-2010 08:03:19

FTSE seen opening lower

The London Stock Exchange building is seen in central London
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LONDON (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 54 to 59 points, or as much as 1.1 percent lower on Monday, according to financial bookmakers, extending Friday's declines after sharp pre-weekend falls on Wall Street and weakness in Asia.

The blue chip index closed 32.11 points, or 0.6 percent lower on Friday at 5,302.99 weighed down by weakness in financial issues following President Barack Obama's proposals to limit the size and activities of U.S. lenders.

U.S. stocks logged their worst three-day slide in 10 months on Friday on fears the White House's plan to curb bank risk-taking would cut profits, and with a drop in tech shares after Google's (Alphabet Inc- Class C) results disappointed.

Asian stocks fell on Monday in reaction to the Wall Street drop, but losses were more muted, and high-yielding currencies edged up as some investor appetite for riskier assets surfaced.

No domestic economic pointers are due for release on Monday, so investors' main focus will be on Tuesday's final, preliminary reading for fourth-quarter UK GDP which is expected to be revised up to show the ending of the worst downturn in Britain since the Second World War.

The consensus forecast from a Reuters a poll of around 40 economists is for a growth of 0.4 percent on the quarter to give an annualised decline of 3.0 percent.

The provisional second reading revised the initial quarterly decline to down 0.2 percent and the year-on-year fall to 5.1 percent.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. December existing home sales numbers will be released at 1500 GMT (3:00 p.m. British time) on Monday, with an increase of 6.03 million expected on the month after a 6.54 million rise in November.

But the main attention will be on the outcome of the latest two-day Federal Reserve Open Market Committee Meeting, due on Wednesday evening, although no change is expected to current U.S. monetary policy.

Another flow of U.S. earnings will also be important, with the main interest on Monday to come after Wall Street's close, with results due then from technology groups Apple (Apple Inc) and Texas Instruments (TXN).

* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stock slide deepens; tech shares weak

* US STOCKS-Wall St sinks on bank, political jitters

* Nikkei hits 4-wk closing low, earnings in focus

* FOREX-Yen, dlr dip as Bernanke moves closer to 2nd term

* TREASURIES-Dip in Asia, 10-yr yield pulls off mth low

* Oil steadies below $75, seeks direction

* PRECIOUS-Gold up, nears $1,100 as dollar dips

* METALS-Copper edges lower on liquidity worries

UK stocks to watch on Monday are:

VODAFONE (Vodafone Group PLC ORD USD0.20)

The mobile phones group plans to resurrect its German Otelo brand as a no-frills mobile product to grab market share from rivals and boost revenue, the company said on Sunday, confirming a media report.

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (Royal Dutch Shell PLC 'A' Ord)

The oil major is slowing its expansion into high-cost Canadian tar sands, Chief Executive Peter Voser said in Monday's edition of the Financial Times.


Russian shareholders in Anglo-Russian oil venture TNK-BP are ready to give up their controversial management role at the firm once Maxim Barsky becomes chief executive in 2011, according to the current interim chief executive Mikhail Fridman, the Financial Times said on Monday.


Italy's ENI may offer the Ugandan government a cash sweetener of up to $300m to win a $1.5 billion bid for stakes in the country's main oil prospects and thwart a rival offer from Tullow Oil, The Sunday Times newspaper said.

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (Royal Bank of Scotland Group P)

Plans by RBS to sell its U.S. trading business for two billion dollars to JPMorgan (JPMorgan Chase & Co) could be in doubt following President Obama's ban on banks trading on their own account, The Times said on Saturday.


The bank plans to defer payment of up to 100 percent of bonuses for its top staff in an attempt to counter anger over bankers' pay, Saturday's Financial Times said.


U.S. investment group Blackstone (The Blackstone Group L.P. Comm) is examining the possibility of entering the UK banking market, its chief executive Stephen Schwarzman said on Sunday.


Britain's biggest insurer has begun a shake-up of its Asian business that will see it scale back its ambitions for growth in India and China, The Sunday Times newspaper said.

WM MORRISON (Morrison (WM) Supermarkets PLC)

The supermarket firm's board met on Sunday to decide on its new chief executive following Marc Bolland's departure to Marks & Spencer (Marks & Spencer Group PLC), with the leading candidate the group's finance director Richard Pennycook, although he faces competition from two executives from European retail groups, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.

LAND SECURITIES (Land Securities Group PLC)

Land Securities has signalled a strategic move to invest in property-based derivative instruments, a move which could help the firm, one of the UK's largest property companies, to hedge its exposure to its largest developments, The Financial Times said on Monday.

CADBURY (Cadbury PLC Ord 500p)

Kraft Foods (Kraft Foods Inc) has pledged to create more jobs in the UK and grow Cadbury's British business following its takeover of the confectioner, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said.

BRITISH SKY BROASDCASTING (British SKY Broadcasting Group) BSkyB is likely to report a rise in revenue to 2.85 billion pounds at the company's half-year results meeting on Thursday, The Independent said on Monday.

MITCHELLS & BUTLERS (Mitchells & BUT ORD 8 13/24P)

Billionaire financier Joe Lewis looks set to agree with Mitchells & Butlers' suggestion to add an additional independent non-executive director to the pub operator's board as soon as possible, The Guardian said on Monday.


The UK's so-called 'Big Six' energy suppliers look set to profit from the plunge in temperatures during December as consumers were forced to turn up their thermostats in the middle of last month when the country experienced the coldest weather conditions for decades, The Times said on Monday.


The CD and DVD distribution group that supplies WM Morrison (Morrison (WM) Supermarkets PLC), Somerfield and the Co-operative Group, has benefited from the collapse of Woolworths and its Entertainment UK subsidiary and recorded a 30 percent increase in sales for the fourth quarter of 2009, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.


The telecoms technology firm posts first-half results.


The business communications firm holds its annual general meeting.

(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)

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