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UK stock market morning note (March 24, 2014)

March 24, 2014, Monday, 08:12 GMT | 04:12 EST | 13:42 IST | 16:12 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning following the economic news out overnight from China with the flash HSBC manufacturing PMI coming in below forecast at 48.1 and the ongoing situation in the Ukraine. The economic diary now focuses on flash US manufacturing PMI due out this afternoon. Commodity prices are flat to lower and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is slightly higher against both the dollar and the euro but all are within narrow trading ranges. We start the week on a quiet note for major corporate news.


Company Announcements

Standard Life

It has confirmed press comment with the acknowledgement that it is in exclusive and advanced discussions with Phoenix Group regarding the potential acquisition of Ignis Asset Management. It added that the talks are ongoing and there was no certainty that a transaction will be agreed with it making further announcements if and when appropriate.

Kentz

Full Year Results from the engineering and construction company see PBT up 12.6% at USD118m on revenue ahead 6% at USD1.66bn. The total dividend is raised 21% to 17.5 cents. It noted that its backlog increased to USD4.1bn at the end of February 2014 with the acquisition of Valerus Field Solutions completed at the end of January and its transition into Kentz exceeding expectations. It added that its pipeline of new business opportunities was up 18% to USD15.6bn and forecast that 2014 performance will be ahead of its previous expectations with all its three business units expected to perform strongly.