UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 1

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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 1
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Feb 1 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 23 points higher at 7,556.3 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 up 0.42 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* GLENCORE: Glencore GLEN.L on Thursday said copper output in 2018 should rise to nearly 1.5 million tonnes as its Katanga mine in Democratic Republic of Congo ramps up to add roughly 150,000 tonnes.

CRANSWICK: British meat supplier Cranswick Plc CWK.L said third-quarter revenue was ahead of last year on volume growth and a strong trading over the Christmas period.

NEX GROUP: Financial technology company NEX Group Plc NXGN.L said its markets had been "noticeably" more active since the beginning of 2018, as forex volatility increased from historic lows.

OCADO: British online grocer Ocado OCDO.L has promoted Luke Jensen, the current boss of its Ocado Solutions technology business, to the board as an executive director, it said on Thursday.

INTERMEDIATE: Fund manager Intermediate Capital Group ICP.L said total assets grew 1 percent in the third quarter and strong demand meant it was raising its fundraising target to 6 billion euros a year. 3I: British private equity group 3i III.L posted a rise in net asset value (NAV) per share to 701 pence as of Dec. 2017 compared to 558 pence a year earlier, the FTSE 100 group said on Thursday.

BT: BT's BT.L Openreach division plans to accelerate its programme to take fibre to the premise with a new drive to connect 3 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020, it said on Thursday.

VODAFONE: Vodafone VOD.L , the world's second largest mobile operator, reported a 1.1 percent rise in organic service revenue for its third quarter, a slight slowdown on the second, due to more promotional activity in some European markets.

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L profit more than doubled in the fourth quarter of 2017 to $4.3 billion, slightly ahead of forecasts, supported by higher oil and gas prices and production, the company said on Thursday.

UNILEVER: Unilever ULVR.L UNc.AS reported a bigger-than-expected acceleration in fourth-quarter sales growth on Thursday helped by a step-up in emerging markets that saw the consumer goods maker end its tumultuous year on a higher note.

RANK GROUP: British casino operator Rank Group Plc RNK.L posted higher pretax profit for the first half of the year on strong growth in its digital business in the UK.

GKN/MELROSE: Melrose Industries MRON.L is preparing to publish the formal offer document detailing its 7.4 billion-pound hostile bid for British engineer GKN GKN.L on Thursday, according to a source close to the situation.

BHP: Global miner BHP BHP.AX BLT.L , trying to speeden the sale of its U.S. shale unit, is open to offering the assets in as many as seven packages, including three in the Permian Basin, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the producer's plans.

* SHELL: Oil major Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L said its U.S. unit had made one of its biggest oil discoveries in the past decade in the Whale deepwater well in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell snapped up nine of 19 Gulf of Mexico oil and gas blocks awarded in a Mexican auction on Wednesday, as the global oil major raised its big bet on Latin America's deep waters.

BARCLAYS: Ground services and cargo handling group Swissport, a unit of cash-strapped Chinese conglomerate HNA Group HNAIRC.UL , said it has secured a 325 million euro ($403.68 million) financing commitment from Barclays BARC.L to support its acquisition of Australian ground handler Aerocare.

BREXIT: Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that European citizens arriving in Britain after Brexit next year may lose some rights, setting up a clash with the European Union over their treatment during any transition period.

UK SMALL MANUFACTURERS: British small manufacturers reported the fastest rise in new orders since 1995 last month and are more optimistic about the year to come, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Thursday.

COPPER: London copper traded flat on Thursday, supported by optimism over the outlook for global manufacturing but pressured by expectations that demand could tail off ahead of the Lunar New Year in mid-February. GOLD: Gold prices inched down early on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged but hinted at hikes later this year.

OIL: U.S. oil prices extended modest gains on Thursday as OPEC's strong compliance with a supply reduction pact offset news that U.S. production topped 10 million barrels per day for the first time in nearly half a century.

EX-DIVS: No FTSE 100 .FTSE companies will go ex-dividend on Thursday, although several mid-caps will go ex-div, after which investors will no longer qualify for the latest dividend payout. The UK blue chip index closed down 0.7 percent on Wednesday to 7,533.55 points, as shares in outsourcer Capita tanked after a profit warning, further weighing on the monthly performance of the index. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets


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