(Adds news items, futures)
* LLOYD'S OF LONDON: Lloyd's of London SOLYD.UL reported a pre-tax profit of 2.3 billion pounds ($2.87 billion) in the first half of 2019, helped by a cutback in underperforming business. COBHAM: The $5 billion acquisition of British defence company Cobham COB.L by U.S. private equity firm Advent International could be blocked on national security grounds after the government ordered an investigation into the agreed deal. KINGFISHER: British home improvement retailer Kingfisher KGF.L on Wednesday reported a 6.4% fall in underlying first half profit, mainly hurt by the weak performance of its French operation. PENDRAGON: British car dealer Pendragon PDG.L gave a grim outlook for the year on Wednesday after posting a loss in the first-half as it cut prices to offload its used car inventory. DIAGEO: Diageo Plc DGE.L averted a planned strike on Tuesday at Scottish distilleries after reaching an agreement on worker pay with the GMB and Unite unions, a representative for the company said. BAE SYSTEMS: Britain's BAE Systems BAES.L said on Tuesday it has won a $318 million contract from the United States Army in order to upgrade M88 recovery vehicles to the M88A3 configuration. WIZZ AIR: The boss of Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air WIZZ.L said he did not expect Brexit to disrupt his operations, and that it could actually present an opportunity to grow as competitors fall away. BP: BP Plc BP.L was raising production on the large crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 430,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Whiting, Indiana, refinery on Tuesday following a minor upset, said sources familiar with plant operations. SHELL NIGERIA: Shell (LON: RDSa ) Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria declared force majeure on exports of Bonny Light crude oil , it said in a statement sent to Reuters on Tuesday. OIL: Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, extending losses from the previous session after Saudi Arabia's energy minister said the kingdom will restore lost oil production by the end of the month. GOLD: Gold prices were little changed on Wednesday amid cautious mood as investors awaited cues on the U.S. central bank's stance on monetary easing, while a drop in crude prices dented demand for safe-haven bullion. The UK blue chip index closed marginally down at 0.01% ON Tuesday as losses in oil major BP, triggered by a report that Saudi Arabia's output could be back up quicker than expected, were countered by gains in so-called defensive sectors. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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