Britain's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index is seen opening up between 8 and 10 points, or 0.2 percent higher, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers.

The UK blue-chip index closed up 24.86 points, or 0.4 percent higher, on Friday at 5,965.58, setting a fresh 2012 closing high after U.S. consumer data showed the recovery in the world's biggest economy was gaining traction.

No major domestic economic data is scheduled for release on Monday but investors will watch for inflation numbers on Tuesday to see how prices might be impacting consumer spending and the economic recovery. On Wednesday the minutes of the last Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting will be released and Britain's finance minister, George Osborne, will unveil details of the government's latest budget. Retail sales data is due out on Thursday.

Across the Atlantic, it is a quiet week for U.S. economic data. The main focus will be housing starts on Tuesday and existing home sales data on Wednesday, where investors will look for any signs the recovery in consumer sentiment in the United States is filtering through to the housing market.

COMPANIES' NEWS:

Big business in Britain is facing a permanent tax crackdown on abusive avoidance schemes under plans to be unveiled in Wednesday's Budget, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

Britain hopes to unlock billions of pounds of investment in its North Sea oil fields by offering energy companies a guaranteed level of tax relief for when they eventually close their oil platforms, a Treasury source said on Friday.

UK BANKS:

Britain's banks face more pressure on profits, partly because of increasing regulation costs, and many will have to cut more jobs, according to a study by accountancy firm KPMG. [ID:nL5E8EF6JK]

UK BANKS:

The UK financial services regulator has said it will look into the possibility that interest rate swaps may have been mis-sold by banks, including Barclays , said the Financial Times.

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND :

RBS has increased the proportion of small business loan applications that it approves, outstripping UK rivals, in a trend that will hearten government ministers but may concern shareholders, according to the Financial Times.

TESCO :

The property fund of Tesco's Thai unit debuted nearly 10 percent higher on Monday as investors were drawn by the strong brand of the fund which raised around $600 million in the country's largest IPO in six years.

TELECOMS:

Europe's top antitrust enforcer last month forged ahead with an investigation into whether the continent's five largest telecoms groups rigged mobile technology standards, in spite of their chief executives offering personal assurances to work through a pan-industry body, the Financial Times said.

DIAGEO :

The world's largest spirits company by sales, is stepping up the pressure on the family owners of tequila maker Jose Cuervo, demanding a resolution to year-long talks over an acquisition within the next few months, according to the Financial Times.

MINERS:

Shipping operations at Australia's Port Hedland have resumed after a tropical cyclone that passed through the Pilbara iron ore belt weakened to below cyclone intensity and moved inland on Sunday.

BERKELEY GROUP :

The British builder and developer said in an interim management statement it is on track to double pretax profit by 2013 and added trading in the period from November 1, 2011 to February 29, 2012 was robust.

MISYS :

Agrees to a 1.3 billion pounds cash acquisition by Vista. Misys shareholders will be entitled to receive 350 pence per Misys share. Misys also reports a 3 percent fall in third quarter revenues.

PREMIER FOODS
:

Reports a 29 percent drop in full-year trading profits and announced its banking covenants have been reset to support its strategic plan.

CADOGAN PETROLEUM :

In an operational update the oil explorer said Eni won't exercise an option to acquire a further 30 percent of Pokroskvoe, following analysis of the wells.

DATA:

The British property market has seen its strongest start to the year since 2004 with average asking prices climbing 1.6 percent in March, according to the latest Rightmove House Price Index, issued on Monday.

UK CORPORATE DIARY:

BERKELEY GROUP issues a trading update. MORSON GROUP reports full-year results. METALRAX GROUP posts full-year results. VPHASE unveils full-year results. RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION reveals first-half results. XAAR reports full-year results.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

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