UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec 15

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UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec 15
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Dec 15 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening down about 13 points, or 0.19 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.

* The UK blue chip index closed down 19.38 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,949.19 points on Wednesday, dropping back from its highest close since October, pulled lower partly by Dixons Carphone DC.L . LSE GROUP/DEUTSCHE BOERSE: The European Commission continues to have concerns about the planned merger of Deutsche Boerse DB1Gn.DE and London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) LSE.L , but to a lesser extent than three months ago, the stock market operators said in a joint statement on Wednesday. SKY/TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc FOXA.O is expected on Thursday to make a formal offer to buy Sky Plc SKYB.L in an 18.5 billion pounds ($23.17 billion) takeover, the Times reported. Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Britain to delay Rupert Murdoch's proposed deal to buy European pay-TV group Sky until the government completes an inquiry into a phone hacking scandal, the Guardian said on Wednesday. HASTINGS: South Africa's Rand Merchant Investment Holdings RMIJ.J ramped up its presence in the British insurance market on Wednesday with the purchase of a 30 percent stake in Hastings HSTG.L , driving the UK firm's shares to 2-1/2 month highs. PUNCH TAVERNS/HEINEKEN: Dutch brewer Heineken HEIN.AS and an investment partner are in advanced takeover talks with Punch Taverns PUB.L , Punch said on Wednesday, but face competition from a higher rival bid from one of the British pub company's founders. SHELL: Japanese oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan 5019.T and Showa Shell Sekiyu 5002.T , Royal Dutch Shell's RDSa.L Japanese venture, have effectively given up on a stop-gap plan to form capital ties that was being considered as a way to get around opposition from the Idemitsu family to a full merger, the Mainichi newspaper reported. ROS AGRO: Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co 8031.T is set to acquire equity stakes in Russian agriculture firm Ros Agro AGRORq.L and Moscow drugmaker R-Pharm as Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Japan this week, Nikkei business daily said on Thursday. SPORTS DIRECT: Multiple suitors are weighing bids to challenge the $575 million offer for Performance Sports Group Ltd made by a financial consortium in the bankruptcy court auction of the Bauer hockey gear maker, according to two people familiar with the matter. British retailer Sports Direct International Plc SPD.L has submitted a letter of interest, the people said. EX-DIVS: AB Foods ABF.L , Polymetal International POLYP.L and United Utilities UU.L will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.84 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations UK REFERENDUM: Prime Minister Theresa May will update Britain's partners in Brussels on Thursday on her plans to launch talks by March on quitting the EU, and they will settle their arrangements for the negotiations. BREXIT: Britain must negotiate a Brexit bridging deal to avoid a "cliff edge" that forces banks to move jobs before they know what the new trading relations with the European Union will be, British lawmakers said on Thursday. BREXIT PRICES: Danish toymaker Lego is set to raise prices of its products in Britain by 5 percent in 2017, becoming the latest manufacturing company to respond to the sharp decline in the value of the pound since Britain voted to leave the European Union, the Guardian reported. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets



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