UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 19
March 19 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 50 points lower at 6,730 on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures .FFIc1 down 0.69% ahead of the cash market open.
* HALFORDS: Halfords HFD.L said it has agreed to buy motoring services provider Universal Tyre and Autocentres for 15 million pounds.
* NATWEST: NatWest NWG.L said it had agreed to buy back 1.1 billion pounds of shares from the British government.
* J D WETHERSPOON: J D Wetherspoon JDW.L reported a half-yearly loss compared with a year-earlier profit.
* HOUSEBUILDERS: Britain's competition watchdog said it had directed homebuilders Taylor Wimpey TW.L and Countryside Properties CSPC.L to remove certain contract terms that mean leaseholders have to pay ground rents that double every 10 or 15 years.
* THOMSON REUTERS: Thomson Reuters Corp TRI.TO and members of Refinitiv's management plan will indirectly sell about 10.5 million voting shares in London Stock Exchange Group LSEG.L , joint bookrunner J.P. Morgan Securities said in a statement on Thursday.
* ASTRAZENECA: The EU's drug watchdog said on Thursday it is still convinced the benefits of AstraZeneca's AZN.L COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks following an investigation into reports of blood clots that prompted more than a dozen nations to suspend its use.
* ASDA: The chief executive of Asda, Roger Burnley, will leave the British supermarket chain next year, it said on Thursday.
* CONSUMER SENTIMENT: British consumer morale struck a one-year high this month as the public became increasingly confident that an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching and that they would benefit directly, a survey showed.
* GOLD: Gold prices fell as the dollar held onto its gains from the previous sessions on the back of rising U.S. Treasury yields.
* OIL: Oil prices edged up as a new wave of COVID-19 infections across Europe spurred fresh lockdowns and dampened hopes that an anticipated recovery in fuel demand would come soon.
* The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 0.3% higher on Thursday, with bank stocks providing the biggest boost after a spike in Treasury yields.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
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Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan in Bengaluru
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