UK Stocks-Factors to watch on March 18
March 18 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index .FTSE is seen opening flat on Friday, with futures FFIc1 down 0.05%.
* TED BAKER: U.S. private equity firm Sycamore Partners is weighing a takeover bid for the British fashion retailer Ted Baker TED.L , Sky News reported on Thursday.
* IAG: Iberia-owner IAG ICAG.L has struck a deal to provide a 100 million euro, seven-year unsecured loan to Globalia which could be turned into a 20% equity holding in its Air Europa airline, it said on Thursday.
* ASTRAZENECA: An AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L executive said the British drugmaker would consider not submitting its COVID-19 vaccine for approval in the United States if the regulatory process takes too long, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
* BHP: A union representing workers at BHP's BHP.AX sprawling Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest copper mine, on Thursday threatened a work stoppage over what it claims are breaches in its collective contract.
* P&O FERRIES: Britain's P&O Ferries on Thursday made 800 staff redundant with immediate effect and suspended crossings for the next few days, sparking a backlash from politicians and unions who criticised plans to hire cheaper agency workers instead.
* HSBC: HSBC HSBA.L is buying a plot of virtual real estate in an online gaming space called The Sandbox for an undisclosed sum, the bank's first major foray into the metaverse as it shrinks its UK branch network.
* OIL: Oil prices extended their rally at the end of a third volatile week of trade after slim progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine raised the spectre of tighter sanctions and a prolonged disruption to oil supply.
* GOLD: Gold prices eased and were set for their biggest weekly drop since late November as hopes for progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks dented the metal's safe-haven appeal.
* METALS: London aluminium prices edged higher, as supply risks lingered with talks between Russia and Ukraine showing no signs of material progress, while market sentiment was also buoyed by hopes of more economic support in top consumer China.
* NICKEL: The London Metal Exchange's (LME) benchmark nickel contract slumped to its daily limit for the second day in a row on Thursday and traders said it would probably continue to slide until it reached parity with the price of the metal in China.
* FTSE 100: UK's FTSE 100 extended gains on Thursday, as oil majors lifted the commodity-heavy index, while the Bank of England raised interest rates as expected and struck a less hawkish tone on further hikes.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
FY results CONTOURGLOBAL
FY results JD WETHERSPOON
HY results ESSENTRA PLC
FY results INVESTEC PLC
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru
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