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* ASOS: British online fashion retailer ASOS ASOS.L beat analysts' expectations for sales growth in the key Christmas trading period, indicating that management has addressed the operational issues that plagued it in 2019. ANGLO AMERICAN: Anglo American AAL.L reported a 4% increase in fourth-quarter production, driven by a ramp-up at its Brazilian Minas-Rio mine, while water shortages at its Los Bronces mine in Chile weighed on the global miner's copper output. JOHN LAING: Infrastructure firm John Laing Group Plc JLG.L said Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brousse will step down after nearly six years in the top job. BLUE PRISM: Blue Prism PRSMB.L , a British provider of automated processes for businesses, reported an 83% rise in full-year revenue to 101 million pounds ($133 million), and said it expected to make continued progress in its current year. COUNTRYSIDE PROPERTIES: British housebuilder Countryside Properties CSPC.L reported a 65% surge in its order book for the first quarter, boosted partly by higher demand for affordable homes. CMC MARKETS: Britain's CMC Markets CMCX.L said net operating income came in above its expectations in the third quarter, as it partly benefited from a flurry of online trading, dubbed as the "Santa Claus" rally, in the final days of 2019. POLYMETAL: Polymetal POLYP.L , one of Russia's largest gold and silver producers, said its fourth quarter revenue rose 1% year-on-year to $643 million as lower output volumes were offset by increasing prices. IHG: InterContinental Hotels Group IHG.L will allow customers to change or cancel stays scheduled up to Feb. 3 across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at no additional cost, the company said on its official WeChat account. BANKS: Britain's regulators should have a formal role after Brexit to keep the financial sector globally competitive and less prone to "gold-plating" international norms, an industry think tank said. JOBS: British employers offered their staff a median annual pay settlement of 2.2% in the three months to December, down from 2.6% in the three months to November, industry data showed. SHELL: Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas has signed a deal with French energy group Total TOTF.PA for 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year, the African producer said on Wednesday. Nigeria LNG is a joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell RDSa.L , Total and Eni ENI.MI . BREXIT: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he did not expect the European Union to offer Britain worse post-Brexit trade terms than it has offered to other trading partners. OIL: Oil prices fell to their lowest in seven weeks, sliding more than 1% on concern that the spread of a respiratory virus from China may lower fuel demand if it stunts economic growth in an echo of the SARS epidemic nearly 20 years ago. GOLD: Gold prices edged lower as cautious investors awaited a policy decision by the European Central Bank due later in the day, although mounting concerns over a virus outbreak in China provided a floor under prices. No FTSE 100 .FTSE companies will go ex-dividend on Thursday.
* London's FTSE 100 recorded its longest losing streak since early December as a strengthening in sterling triggered by strong manufacturing sentiment data weighed on dollar earners, while travel group TUI slid on more Boeing (NYSE: BA ) woes. UK PAPERS
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