UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Aug. 20



Aug 20 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 11 points higher on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 up 0.22%.

* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca AZN.L said its antibody therapy met the main goal of preventing COVID-19 infection in a late-stage study.

* MARKS & SPENCER: British retailer Marks & Spencer MKS.L said it expected its annual profit to be above forecasts after its food division outperformed expectations and shoppers started returning to its clothes stores.

* UK HEALTH REGULATOR: The UK health regulator said it has approved Ronapreve, the antibody developed by Roche ROG.S and Regeneron REGN.O , to prevent and treat COVID-19.

* ASTRAZENECA: Drugmaker AstraZeneca said its newly acquired Alexion division was halting a late-stage trial of its treatment for a rare neurological disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

* RETAIL SALES: British retail sales unexpectedly fell sharply last month, according to official data which suggested at least some consumers were more focused on England's progress in the Euro 2020 soccer tournament than going to the shops.

* WM MORRISONS: British supermarket Morrisons MRW.L has agreed to a takeover offer worth 7 billion pounds from U.S. private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, dropping its recommendation of a lower bid from a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group.

* CONSUMER SENTIMENT: British consumer morale cooled a little in August after touching its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey that also showed households were turning their minds towards saving rather than spending.

* BHP GROUP: BHP Group fired 48 staff in the two years to the end of June for sexual harassment, it told a Western Australian government inquiry investigating such incidents at mining camps in the mineral-rich state.

* BHP GROUP: A Chilean court ordered BHP's BHP.AX Cerro Colorado copper mine on Thursday to stop pumping water from an aquifer over environmental concerns, according to filings seen by Reuters.

* OIL: Oil prices came off three-month lows but were on track for a weekly decline of around 6% as new lockdowns in countries with low vaccination rates facing surging cases of the Delta variant dimmed the outlook for fuel demand.

* GOLD: Gold prices inched up, as rising concerns over the spread of coronavirus Delta variant and its impact on economic recovery soured risk sentiment, but a stronger dollar capped further gains.

* London's FTSE 100 ended sharply lower on Thursday as heavyweight mining and energy stocks tracked a slump in commodity prices on signs of slowing demand and economic growth amid fears of a quicker withdrawal of global monetary stimulus.

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

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines

(Reporting By Geetha Panchaksharam)

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