U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 9 mins

Babcock, Fluor named lead bidders for 7 bln stg UK nuclear deal

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - Britain on Monday named engineering contractors Babcock and U.S. group Fluor as the preferred bidders for a 14-year, 7 billion pound ($11.65 billion) contract to manage the decommissioning of its nuclear sites.

The contract, which includes some of Britain's oldest nuclear power sites such as Hinkley, Sizewell and Dungeness, is one of Britain's largest and most valuable public contracts put out to tender.

Shares in Babcock were the biggest gainer on the FTSE 100 Index at 0936 GMT, up 3.5 percent.

(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang and Brenda Goh; editing by Kate Holton)