(Adds company news items, futures)
* CENTRICA: Centrica CNA.L reported a 362 million pound loss from continuing operations for 2020, due to the impacts of coronavirus, warmer weather and weaker commodity prices. HIKMA: Hikma Pharmaceuticals HIK.L said it expects higher sales for all of its three businesses for the new year. ST. JAMES'S PLACE: St. James's Place SJP.L posted a 75% surge in annual profit, helped by markets' recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic fallout. ANGLO AMERICAN : Anglo American (JO: AMSJ ) AAL.L posted a slight fall in profits for 2020 but boosted dividends. SERCO: Serco Group Plc SRP.L reinstated a dividend and raised its 2021 forecasts. DRAX: Drax DRX.L reported a 235 million pound loss before tax for 2020, after taking a 60 million pound hit due to the coronavirus. ASTON MARTIN: Aston Martin AML.L said a turnaround plan would see it takes the first steps towards profitability and boost sales this year. BAE SYSTEMS: BAE Systems BAES.L posted a 2% rise in annual earnings per share, beating forecasts, and guided to further growth in 2021 as its order book expands. ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS: Associated British Foods ABF.L warned that the loss of sales from lockdown store closures for its first half to Feb. 27 would be 1.1 billion pounds. STANDARD CHARTERED: Standard Chartered Plc STAN.L posted a 57% fall in annual profit, missing analyst estimates, on higher credit impairments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. GOLD: Gold eased as U.S. Treasury yields hovered near a one-year peak, tarnishing bullion's appeal. OIL: Oil prices extended gains for a fourth session to reach the highest levels in more than 13 months. The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.5% higher on Wednesday as gains in commodity-linked and banking stocks on investor optimism about a post-pandemic economic recovery outweighed losses in defensive sectors. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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