UK Stocks-Factors to watch on June 18



June 18 (Reuters) - Futures for Britain's FTSE 100 index FFIc1 were 0.01% higher on Friday.

* TESCO: Tesco TSCO.L reported a sharp slowdown in underlying UK sales growth in its first quarter, reflecting a tough comparison with the same quarter last year when the country was in the grip of its first COVID-19 lockdown.

* UNITE GROUP: Unite Group UTG.L reported the disposal of two London properties to its London Student Accommodation joint venture with GIC for 342 million pounds.

* INCHCAPE: Inchcape INCH.L said its current-year earnings will top market estimates, helped by an uptick in demand following easing of pandemic-related restrictions.

* HSBC: HSBC HSBA.L is set to announce the sale of its retail banking operations in France to private-equity group Cerberus on Friday, three sources familiar with the matter said, after struggling to offload a business that will need restructuring.

* RIO TINTO: Indigenous Australians say a bill to protect cultural heritage in the mining state of Western Australia is flawed and should not be presented to parliament, as the state reviews laws that allowed Rio Tinto to destroy a 46,000-year-old rock shelter.

* RETAIL: British retail sales fell unexpectedly last month as a lifting of lockdown restrictions encouraged spending in restaurants rather than shops, according to official data.

* COVID-19: British finance minister Rishi Sunak has ruled out further extension of support to businesses in England, despite the UK government forcing many to close for an extra four weeks, The Financial Times reported on Thursday.

* GOLD: Gold prices rose but were headed for their worst week since March 2020 after the U.S. Federal Reserve's hawkish message on monetary policy lifted the dollar higher and dented the safe-haven metal's appeal.

* OIL: Oil prices fell as the U.S. dollar soared on the prospect of interest rate hikes in the United States.

* The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.4% lower on Thursday as a hawkish turn by the U.S. Federal Reserve hit commodity prices.

* 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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