May 23, 2018 / 6:55 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on May 23

(Adds futures, company news items)

May 23 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 19 points lower at 7,858 on Wednesday, according to CMC Markets, with futures down 0.46 percent ahead of the cash market open.

* M&S: Britain's Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday it urgently had to modernise or risk fading away as it reported a second straight decline in annual profit and booked a 321 million pounds ($430 million) charge for a store closure programme.

* ZPG: Britain's ZPG, which runs property website Zoopla and is being bought by U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake for 2.2 billion pounds ($3 billion), posted a 33 percent rise in first-half profit as listings grew on its platforms.

* SEVERN TRENT: British water utility Severn Trent Plc posted a 4 percent rise in full-year profit on Wednesday, as its Dee Valley Water business and higher revenue offset the impact of changes in business rates and costs.

* BRITVIC: British soft drink company Britvic Plc said on Wednesday its half-year revenue rose 4.5 percent to 733.2 million pounds as it sold more no- or low-sugar drinks during the period.

* BABCOCK: British engineer Babcock said it expected to deliver low mid-single digit organic revenue growth and stable margins in 2018/19 after international sales and a restructuring helped the group to hit its annual targets.

* BANK OF ENGLAND: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday he expected Britain's economy would bounce back from a weak start to the year when it was hit by heavy snowstorms, keeping the prospect of higher interest rates on the table.

* SHELL: Top investors in Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday put pressure on the oil and gas giant to commit to hard targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to battle climate change.

* BARCLAYS: British lender Barclays is exploring a potential merger with rival banks, including Standard Chartered, the Financial Times reported citing two people close to the matter.

* FACEBOOK: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network's data policies as lengthy questions left the 34-year-old American little time to answer.

* VEDANTA: At least nine people were killed in India's Tamil Nadu state on Tuesday when police fired at violent protesters calling for the closure of a copper smelter run by Vedanta Resources, authorities said.

* OIL: Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday with the possibility of higher OPEC output weighing on the market, although geopolitical risks are expected to keep prices near multi-year highs.

* The UK blue chip index closed 0.2 points higher at 7,877.45 on Tuesday, as shares in financials and miners rose further, triggering anticipations it could soon reach the 8,000 points benchmark.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru)

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