(Updates futures, adds news items)
* BRITISH LAND: British Land Co BLND.L said it expects market rents for covered shopping centres to take longer to stabilise than at retail parks, due to higher occupancy costs and lower visitor numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic. EASYJET: easyJet EZJ.L said it expected to start to fly more from late May onwards, shrugging off worries about a third wave of COVID-19 infections in continental Europe which have dampened hopes for a rebound in travel this summer. TESCO: Tesco TSCO.L beat its guidance by reporting total adjusted retail operating profit of 1.99 billion pounds after seeing "exceptionally strong" sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. CMA: Britain's competition watchdog said it has provisionally cleared a merger between broadband company Virgin Media and Telefonica 's TEF.MC UK mobile network O2 after an investigation into the $38 billion deal's potential impact. ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca AZN.L said China's health regulator has approved Tagrisso, the British drugmaker's lung cancer treatment, as adjuvant treatment for patients with an early-stage lung cancer. ROBERT WALTERS: British recruiting firm Robert Walters Plc RWA.L said it expects annual profit to be ahead of market expectations after seeing signs of improving market conditions across its major regions. GLOBALWORTH: CPI Property Group O5G.DE and Aroundtown SA AT1.DE offered to buy London-listed Globalworth Real Estate Investments GWI.L in a deal valued at about 1.57 billion euros. EU: The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with companies such as Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) (J&J) JNJ.N , Italian daily La Stampa reported citing a source from the Italian Health Ministry. EMA: The European medicines watchdog said on Tuesday it was aware of a decision by its U.S. counterpart to pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson's JNJ.N COVID-19 vaccine due to rare instances of blood clots. BREXIT: Britain's Financial Conduct Authority will undertake a root-and-branch review of the UK capital market following Brexit to help attract more foreign company listings, a senior regulator said on Tuesday. WHEAT IMPORTS: Britain's wheat imports slowed in February but are still running well above last season's pace, customs data showed on Tuesday. GOLD: Gold prices gave up early gains and were flat on Wednesday, as weakness in the U.S. dollar due to higher inflation was countered by some firming in Treasury yields. OIL: Crude oil climbed on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. inventories declined more than expected and OPEC raised its outlook for oil demand, but gains were capped by worries about the coronavirus and by rising supplies. British mid-caps ended higher on Tuesday and hovered near record levels as data showed the country's economy grew in February and Babcock International surged on its proposed restructuring plans. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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