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* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted fast track designation for the development of its diabetes drug Farxiga to reduce the risk of deadly heart attacks in some patients. DIRECT LINE: Direct Line DLGD.L appointed on Monday former Royal London executive Tim Harris as its chief financial officer, as Britain's largest motor insurer faces a market that has been bogged down by stiff competition and regulatory changes. PETRA DIAMONDS: Petra Diamonds PDL.L reported a 22% fall in annual profit on Monday as the precious metals miner grappled with a weak diamond market, and the company also said its non-executive chairman plans to step down. EDDIE STOBART: Logistics firm Eddie Stobart Plc ESLE.L said on Monday it was considering the potential for raising new equity and that it would not declare any dividend for fiscal 2019. MAN GROUP: British hedge fund Man Group EMG.L said on Monday that the former Deutsche Bank (DE: DBKGn ) chief executive John Cryan has been appointed chairman and will start his new role in January 2020, replacing Ian Livingston. SPIRE HEALTHCARE: Britain's Spire Healthcare Group Plc SPI.L reported on Monday a first-half profit compared with a loss last year, helped by cost-cutting measures and better-than-expected revenue from the National Health Service (NHS) referrals. SAUDI ARAMCO: Attacks on two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry will cut the kingdom's output by 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a statement from state-run oil company Saudi Aramco, or more than 5% of global oil supply. COBHAM: U.S. private equity firm Advent International is set to clinch its 4 billion pound ($4.99 billion) takeover of defence and aerospace group Cobham Plc COB.L after Advent received support from more than 75% of shareholders, the Financial Times reported on Friday. FIRSTGROUP: Britain's FirstGroup FGP.L is pursuing potential options for the separation of its UK First Bus business, a company spokesman said on Sunday. CENTRICA: A consortium of infrastructure funds led by Dalmore is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Britain's nuclear power stations from EDF Energy EDF.PA and Centrica Plc CNA.L for about 1.2 billion pounds ($1.50 billion), Sky News reported on Saturday. OIL: Oil prices surged on Monday, with Brent crude posting its biggest intra-day percentage gain since the start of the Gulf War in 1991, after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on Saturday shut in the equivalent of 5% of global supply. GOLD: Gold prices jumped 1% on Monday as an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities dented risk appetite, boosting demand for the safe-haven bullion, while investors awaited for clues on monetary easing from major central bank meetings due this week. The UK blue chip index closed up 0.3% on Friday as optimism that a no-deal Brexit could be avoided spurred a rally in stocks with domestic exposure, overpowering losses in blue-chip exporter stocks that were hit by a stronger sterling. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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