UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec. 17
(Adds company news items)
Dec 17 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 futures index FFIc1 was 0.24% higher on Thursday.
* WPP: WPP WPP.L , the world's biggest advertising company, expects to return to its 2019 level of net sales by 2022 after the pandemic accelerated its strategy switch to providing more digital services for clients. SAINSBURY: British supermarket group Sainsbury 's SBRY.L said on Thursday it had appointed Lesley Jones as the new chair of its Sainsbury's Bank unit, replacing Roger Davis. TALKTALK: British broadband company TalkTalk TALK.L said on Thursday it had agreed a 1.1 billion-pound ($1.49 billion) takeover by a combination of its shareholder Toscafund and private-equity investor Penta. SERCO: Serco Group Plc SRP.L said on Thursday it expected revenue and profit to rise slightly in 2021, benefiting from its acquisition of a cleaning and maintenance provider in Australia, while the British outsourcer kept its 2020 forecast unchanged. SSP GROUP: SSP Group SSPG.L , the owner of the Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza snack chains, said on Thursday it expects first-quarter sales to sink 80% after it posted an annual loss due to coronavirus-led travel restrictions. G4S (CSE: G4S ): Security firm GardaWorld said on Wednesday its cash offer for rival G4S GFS.L will remain open for acceptance until Jan. 6, even as the British company last week agreed to be acquired by U.S. firm Allied Universal. BOOHOO: Mahmud Kamani, the co-founder and executive chairman of British online fashion retailer Boohoo BOOH.L , on Wednesday told lawmakers he would fix the group's supply chain failings. RETAIL: Britain's retailers and food manufacturers have called on lawmakers to urgently investigate ongoing disruption at UK ports, warning that delays were hurting their plans to build stocks ahead of Christmas and the Dec. 31 end of the Brexit transition period. BANK OF ENGLAND: The Bank of England is expected to refrain from yet more stimulus as it waits to see if a possible no-deal Brexit in two weeks' time deepens the problems already facing Britain's coronavirus-damaged economy. GOLD: Gold held firm near a one-week high as progress on a U.S. fiscal stimulus deal weighed on the dollar, while a pledge by the Federal Reserve to keep rates low until an economic recovery is secure lent further support. OIL: Oil hit a nine-month high after government data showed a fall in U.S. crude stockpiles last week, while progress towards a U.S. fiscal stimulus deal and strong Asian demand also buoyed prices. The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.9% higher on Wednesday on signs of progress in securing a new Brexit trade deal and optimism over a global recovery aided by the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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