UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 20

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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Feb 20
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Feb 20 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen to open 8 points higher at 7,256.1 on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 up 0.15 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* SPORTS DIRECT: British sportswear retailer Sports Direct SPD.L plans to buy back up to 100 million pounds ($139.7 million) of its equity as it seeks to further reduce the share capital of the company, it said on Tuesday.

DUNELM: British homewares retailer Dunelm Group Plc DNLM.L said total sales for its half year rose over 18 percent, aided by its Worldstores acquisition.

INTERCONTINENTAL: InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) IHG.L said it would not pay out any additional capital to investors in 2018 as it announced a better-than-expected profit for 2017 and a new strategy to speed growth.

HIKMA: Drugmaker Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc HIK.L said on Tuesday it appointed Sigurdur Olafsson as its chief executive, effective immediately.

WILLIAM HILL: British bookmaker William Hill WMH.L will pay 6.2 million pounds ($8.7 million) as a penalty for breaching anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations, the Gambling Commission said on Tuesday.

HSBC HOLDINGS: HSBC Holdings ' HSBA.L 2017 pre-tax profit rose 142 percent as the lender avoided the multi-billion dollar restructuring costs that marred its 2016 results but the profit growth lagged expectations as it took a writedown following U.S. tax changes.

CARILLION: Britain's pensions regulator twice ignored requests from trustees of collapsed outsourcing firm Carillion CLLN.L to force the company to plug its pension deficit, lawmakers said on Tuesday.

GKN/MELROSE: British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would act in the national interest when asked for her reaction to a hostile takeover bid of aero-engineer GKN GKN.L by Melrose MRON.L .

LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: The London Stock Exchange Group LSE.L will launch a contract to compete directly with rival InterContinental Exchange ICE.N to wean markets off Libor by 2021, the British bourse said on Monday.

BALFOUR BEATTY: Britain's Balfour Beatty BALF.L on Monday said it sold a further 5 percent stake in Connect Plus, the operator of the M25 orbital motorway, for 42 million pounds ($58.90 million) in cash.

UBER: Taxi app Uber UBER.UL is dropping a legal appeal against the introduction of more stringent English language tests for drivers in London after the city's transport regulator said it would water down its stringent proposals. OIL: Oil markets were split on Tuesday, with U.S. crude was pushed up by reduced flows from Canada while international Brent prices eased.

GOLD: Gold prices fell for a third straight session on Tuesday as the dollar rebounded from over three-year lows hit last week, while investors waited for the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting for clues on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

METALS: London copper drifted lower on Tuesday as a firm dollar dictated direction in a thinly traded market, with holidays in top metals user China. The UK blue chip index closed down 0.64 percent at 7,247.66 points on Monday, as weak results from Reckitt Benckiser RB.L underlined the murky growth outlook for big consumer goods makers and banking holidays in the U.S. and China slowed European markets.


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