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UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on July 29
Published at 29/07/2021 at 07:54

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July 29 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening lower on Thursday, with futures up 0.21%.

* DRAX: Drax announced a 10% increase to its interim dividend as profits rose and the financial impact of COVID-19 on the business softened.

* COMPASS GROUP: Compass Group forecast trading to be around 80% to 85% of pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter.

* LLOYDS: Lloyds Banking Group swung to a first-half profit and announced an interim dividend, boosted by a house buying frenzy and improved economic outlook in Britain.

* SHELL: Shell boosted its dividend and launched a $2 billion share buyback programme on Thursday after second quarter profits jumped to their highest in over two years.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine sales more than tripled to $894 million in the second quarter from the previous three months.

* RELX: Relx said it expected underlying growth rates in revenue and profit to be slightly above historical trends in 2021.

* ANGLO AMERICAN: Anglo American boosted its shareholder payout to $4.1 billion, including a $1 billion buyback, after bumper profits from the first six months of 2021.

* BAE SYSTEMS: BAE Systems lifted annual guidance thanks to a good operational performance and said as a result it would raise the dividend by 5%.

* SCHRODERS: Schroders reported a 33% rise in first-half profits, as strong investor sentiment on the back of vaccinations and stimulus measures pushed assets under management to a new high.

* BT: BT reported a better-than-expected 3% rise in adjusted first-quarter earnings.

* DIAGEO: Diageo reported a better-than-expected rise in organic net sales growth for the full year.

* Lloyd's of London: Lloyd's of London plans to develop insurance products for electric vehicles and hydrogen as part of its efforts to fight climate change, the specialist insurance market said.

* BOE: Britain's government should take on hundreds of billions of pounds of hard-to-sell bonds held by the Bank of England to reduce the risk of the BoE's independence being questioned when the time comes to raise interest rates, a think-tank said.

* GOLD: Gold climbed to a more than one-week high on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell struck a dovish tone.

* OIL: Oil prices rose as crude stockpiles in the United States, the world's top oil consumer.

* British mid-caps rose on Wednesday to hit all-time highs, led by gains in travel stocks after England scrapped some quarantine rules, while a set of strong earnings from Barclays and Fresnillo supported the blue-chip FTSE 100.

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru)

((shanima.a@thomsonreuters.com; (Within UK +44 20 7542 1810; Outside UK+91 80 6182 2587; Direct: +91 77 6034 7399 );))