UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Sept 23



Sept 23 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 19 points higher on Thursday, with futures .FFIc1 marginally up 0.65%.

* MITCHELLS & BUTLERS: Britain's Mitchells & Butlers Plc MAB.L said sales over the past two months have been above pre-pandemic levels.

* ROYAL MAIL: Royal Mail Plc RMG.L forecast a surge in first-half operating profit, despite warning on higher costs.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L struck a deal with the firm behind Imperial College London's experimental COVID-19 vaccine to develop and sell drugs based on its self-amplifying RNA technology platform in other disease areas.

* AUGEAN: Investment manager Ancala Partners outbid Morgan Stanley Infrastructure in an auction to buy UK-based waste management firm Augean AUG.L for 390 million pounds, Britain's takeover regulator said on Thursday.

* OFGEM: Britain is having talks with energy regulator Ofgem about whether a cap on gas and electricity prices for consumers may have to go up, junior business minister Paul Scully said on Thursday.

* UK MINISTERS: Britain is trying to solve the shortage of qualified HGV drivers by encouraging former truckers back into the market and speeding up the testing system, because changing visa rules to attract international workers is no panacea, a business minister said.

* GOLD: Gold prices dipped as the dollar strengthened after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a withdrawal of its asset purchases by next year and a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike, dimming the appeal of the non-yielding bullion.

* OIL: Oil prices extended gains, riding higher on growing fuel demand and a bigger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude inventories as production remains hampered in Gulf of Mexico.

* London's FTSE 100 recorded its best day in two months on Wednesday.

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

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

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(Reporting By Geetha Panchaksharam)

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