(Adds company news items, futures)
* RECKITT BENCKISER: Reckitt Benckiser RB.L capped 2020 with the strongest sales in its history, as the COVID-19 pandemic made hygiene a top priority and fuelled demand for its cleaning products. VODAFONE: Vantage Towers, the mobile infrastructure company spun out of Vodafone Group VOD.L , announced its intention to float on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by the end of March. LLYODS: Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L reported a sharp fall in profits for 2020 but resumed paying a dividend. METRO BANK: Metro Bank MTRO.L posted a much bigger annual loss and said it expects defaults to rise through the year in line with its provisions. AVIVA: Aviva AV.L has agreed to sell its 40% stake in a joint venture in Turkey for 122 million pounds, as Chief Executive Amanda Blanc continues to sell off non-core units. SYNTHOMER: Synthomer Plc SYNTS.L said it was not in discussions regarding a possible offer for the company. HEATHROW: Britain's Heathrow Airport plunged to a 2 billion pound annual loss after passenger numbers collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s during the pandemic. HOUSING: British finance minister Rishi Sunak is preparing to extend the stamp duty holiday by three months until the end of June in an attempt to boost activity in the housing market as the country emerges from lockdown, The Times reported. GOLD: Gold prices gained as a weaker dollar and remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the U.S. economy still needed support boosted bullion's appeal. OIL: Oil prices fell after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. crude stocks last week. The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.2% higher on Tuesday bucking the trend in Europe as optimism around an economic recovery led by plans to ease restrictions in Britain offset a spike in the domestic unemployment rate. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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