UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec 31
(Adds company news, futures)
Dec 31 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 22 points, or 0.4 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.28 percent by 0728 GMT ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.6 percent lower at 6274.05 points on Wednesday, as weak commodity prices hit the shares of mining and energy companies and online supermarket group Ocado underperformed on concerns over growing competition from a rival service at Amazon.
* SPORTS DIRECT: Sports Direct, Britain's biggest sportswear retailer, said its employees would be paid above the national minimum wage from the start of the new year, after a review of its conditions for thousands of its workers.
* JOHN LEWIS: John Lewis, Britain's biggest department store chain, posted a 2.3 percent year-on-year rise in sales in the week to Dec. 26, boosted by shoppers going to its website and mobile app to buy gadgets such as gaming devices and wearable technology.
* TECH SUPPLIERS: Apple fell on Wednesday, with several reports raising concerns that its iPhone shipments in this quarter or the next could be lower than expected. London-listed chipmaker ARM Holdings and graphics technology maker Imagination Technologies are suppliers to the behemoth.
* INSURERS: Consultant PwC raised its estimate of insured losses from UK storms Desmond and Eva to between 900 million pounds and 1.2 billion pounds from an earlier range of 700 million to 1 billion pounds, even as a third major storm in a month battered northern Britain on Wednesday.
* EX-DIVS: Dixons Carphone and Experian will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.44 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations Continuación...