UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Jan 8



Jan 8 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 33 points higher at 6,890 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 up 0.29% ahead of cash market open.

* MARKS & SPENCER: Marks & Spencer MKS.L reported another big fall in clothing and homewares sales in its Christmas quarter, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit demand and restrictions to stem the spread of the virus closed stores.

* BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS: Barratt Developments BDEV.L said it expects to resume dividends next month, after posting a 14.3% jump in forward home sales for the first half as demand rebounded from COVID-19 lockdown lows.

* MARSTON'S: Marston's Plc MARS.L said it expects pubs to be closed at least until March as part of the latest national lockdown imposed across the country, with some restrictions to remain on reopening.

* PETS AT HOME: Pets at Home PETSP.L said it was expecting its annual underlying pretax profit to be ahead of its previous expectations and reported higher third-quarter sales as its stores remained open during COVID-19 restrictions.

* SIGNATURE AVIATION: Blackstone Group Inc BX.N pushed ahead with its proposal to buy out Signature Aviation SIGSI.L in a deal worth $4.29 billion, securing the support of the private jet servicing company's biggest shareholder Bill Gates' Cascade Investment.

* LEKOIL: London-listed Nigerian oil company Lekoil's LEK.L shareholders will vote on Friday on an investor's bid to add three members to the company's board, in the culmination of a bitter dispute between its founder and its biggest shareholder.

* ASOS: ASOS ASOS.L said it would invest 90 million pounds ($122 million) in a new fulfilment centre in Staffordshire, central England.

* COVID-19: The boss of Britain's biggest airport Heathrow said that new rules requiring people arriving in England to present a negative COVID-19 test result must only be temporary and the government must plan for how to end it.

* GOLD: Gold eased as the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields firmed, although hopes for additional stimulus in the world's largest economy kept bullion on course for a second straight weekly gain.

* OIL: Oil prices held near 11-month highs and were on track for a strong weekly gain as Saudi Arabia's pledge to cut output continued to buoy market sentiment.

* The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.2% higher on Thursday as investors bet on a bigger U.S. stimulus package under a Democrat administration, while retailer Sainsbury jumped after raising its profit outlook.

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

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

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Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan in Bengaluru

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