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Sept 21 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 21 points higher at 7,389 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers.
* LLOYD'S OF LONDON: Lloyd's of London SOLYD.UL , the insurance market that covers risks from oil rigs to soccer stars' legs, said on Friday that it had returned to profit in the first half, following a 2017 loss brought on by a record year for catastrophes. SMITHS GROUP: British engineering group Smiths Group SMIN.L reported a 2 percent rise in full-year revenue on Friday, helped by higher demand for the parts it supplies to the oil and gas industry. SIG: British construction materials supplier SIG Plc SHI.L on Friday reported a 21.8 percent fall in first-half underlying pre-tax profit as builders delayed projects because of Britain's long icy winter. SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell (LON: RDSa ) Plc RDSa.AS is in talks to sell its assets in a Gulf of Mexico oilfield to Focus Oil to pay for its takeover of BG Group Plc, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with matter. SKY: A protracted $34 billion bidding war for European broadcaster Sky SKYB.L between U.S. rivals Comcast CMCSA.O and Twenty-First Century Fox FOXA.O is likely to be settled by a quick-fire auction on Saturday. VODAFONE: Vodafone VOD.L said it would have 1,000 5G-enabled network sites in Britain by 2020, delivering blisteringly fast speeds and near-instant response times that it demonstrated by making Britain's first holographic mobile call on Thursday. BREXIT: Britain's anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) launched a set of populist policies on Friday hoping to revive their dwindling political influence and capitalise on outrage over the government's handling of Brexit. ACCOUNTING FIRMS: The "big four" accounting firms could be broken up under plans by UK's Labour Party to overhaul the auditing industry, Britain's shadow chancellor John McDonnell told The Financial Times on Friday. OIL: Oil prices were mixed on Friday after falling in the previous session as U.S. President Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices ahead of its meeting in Algeria this weekend. GOLD: Gold prices edged up on Friday to a one-week high as the dollar weakened on receding fears of a full-blown Sino-U.S. trade war, keeping the yellow metal on track for its first weekly gain in four. UK TAX: Support in Britain for increased levels of tax to fund more public spending has hit a 15-year high, according to a survey published on Friday, after nearly a decade of government efforts to cut its budget deficits. The UK blue chip index closed 0.5 percent points higher at 7,367.32 on Thursday as UK shares lagged their European peers on a trade war relief rally, after better-than-expected UK retail data boosted the pound which acts as an accounting drag on their foreign revenues. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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