(Adds futures, news items)
* TESCO: Tesco TSCO.L followed rivals in reporting buoyant Christmas trading, as pandemic restrictions meant people splashed out on celebrations at home. WHITBREAD: Whitbread WTB.L said it had completed the restructuring of its hotel and restaurant operations, leading to around 1,500 job cuts, much lower than the 6,000 it had expected. BOOHOO: Boohoo BOOH.L raised its annual revenue target after a strong Christmas holiday season, with the tightening of UK coronavirus curbs again pushing households to shop more online. AB FOODS: AB Foods ABF.L warned that the loss of sales from store closures could rise to over 1 billion pounds. HALFORDS GROUP: Halfords Group Plc HFD.L posted an 11.5% jump in third-quarter sales, boosted by a coronavirus-driven boom in cycling as more Britons avoided public transport. HAYS: Hays Plc HAYS.L said it was too early to quantify the impact of new lockdowns in the United Kingdom and Europe, after posting a steep drop in second-quarter net fees as COVID-19 restrictions stymied new hiring across the world. CENTRICA: Centrica CNA.L said its closing net debt last year is expected to be about 2.8 billion pounds, a reduction of more than 10% on the year. TAYLOR WIMPEY: Taylor Wimpey TW.L said its 2020 operating profit would meet market expectations on pent-up demand in the second half of the year. SENIOR: Senior Plc SNR.L forecast annual loss to be slightly smaller than previous expectations. GOLD: Gold prices inched lower as U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar rebounded, while investors awaited details on incoming U.S. President Joe Biden's coronavirus stimulus proposal. OIL: Oil prices eased as mounting coronavirus cases globally raised demand concerns. The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.1% lower on Wednesday as rising coronavirus cases and fresh lockdowns imposed across Europe raised caution about the near-term effects on the economy. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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