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UK Stocks-Factors to watch on April 4

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Adds new items, updates futures

April 4 -Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening higher on Thursday, with futures FFIc1 up 0.08%.

* VODAFONE: Britain's competition regulator said it would need to open anin-depth investigation into the merger between Vodafone'sVOD.L UK operation and Hutchison's0001.HK Three UK after the parties did not offer remedies to ease the regulator's competition concerns.

* OCADO: British online supermarket OcadoOCDO.L said Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite willnot stand for re-election at the group's annual general meeting next year due to his "increasing commitment" as NatWest'sNWG.L newly appointed chair.

* ENTAIN: Sports betting and gaming group EntainENT.L said Chair Barry Gibson wouldstep down by September-end after more than four years in the role, although could potentially leave earlier if a CEO gets appointed for the group.

* CO-OP: Co-op42TE.L, which runs Britain's seventh-biggest supermarket chain, posted asteep drop in pretax annual profit, weighed down by stiff competition from discounters and record levels of shoplifting that pushed up costs.

* CAR SALES: New car sales in Britain rose about 10% in March compared with a year earlier, preliminary industry data showed.

* GOLD: Gold prices rallied to a record high as Federal Reserve officials reiterated expectations of interest rate cuts in 2024, even if their timing was unclear, while traders await key U.S. jobs data.

* OIL: Oil pricesrose on concerns of lower supply as major producers are keeping output cuts in place and on signs of stronger economic growth in the U.S., the world's biggest oil consumer.

* EX-DIVS: InterContinental Hotels Group IHG.L, Rentokil Initial RTO.L, Mondi MNDI.L, Smiths Group SMIN.L and IMI Plc IMI.L will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-outs on Thursday.

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

> Financial Times PRESS/FT
> Other business headlines PRESS/GB

Reporting by Prerna Bedi and DhanushVignesh Babu in Bengaluru


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