(Adds company news items, updates futures)
Jan 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were down 0.9 percent by 0748 GMT ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.5 percent at 5,960.97 points on Wednesday after better-than-expected trade data from China improved market sentiment, pushing oil and metals prices higher and lifting investors’ appetite for shares in mining, oil and gas companies.
* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell plans to grow its lubricants business in Asia in the next five years, targeting surging vehicle sales and rising population growth, said a senior company official.
* BP: The families of two BP employees killed in the 2013 Amenas gas plant attack in Algeria have filed a lawsuit in London’s High Court against the company, accusing it of failing to take reasonable steps to protect its workers.
* RIO TINTO: Rio Tinto , the world’s second largest miner, is going to freeze all pay in 2016, ramping up its cost-cutting effort to weather what it expects to be a prolonged commodities slump, according to a memo from Chief Executive Sam Walsh.
* ASHMORE: Emerging market-focused fund manager Ashmore saw $1.7 billion in net outflows in the three months to end-December, bringing assets under management below $50 billion.
* JUPITER: British fund firm Jupiter Fund Management said on Thursday it had taken in a net 496 million pounds ($714.74 million) in investor cash over the three months to end-December.
* AB FOODS: Associated British Foods said total sales at its discount fashion store Primark were up 7 percent in the four months leading up to Christmas on a constant currency basis, boosted by new store openings in Spain and the United States.
* TESCO: Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, beat forecasts for UK sales over the key Christmas trading period, driven by lower prices, and said it was making good progress with its turnaround plan.
* AB INBEV/ SABMILLER: Brewing giant AB InBev launched a $46bn bond on Wednesday, the second-largest bond in history, after amassing $110bn in investor orders to help fund its acquisition of rival SABMiller.
* HOME RETAIL: British takeover target Home Retail said on Wednesday it was in advanced talks to sell its Homebase home improvement stores to Australia’s Wesfarmers for 340 million pounds ($490 million) in cash, allowing it to focus on its Argos chain.
British retail takeover target Home Retail reported a worse-than-expected 2.2 percent drop in like-for-like sales at its biggest chain Argos, hours after its said it was in advanced talks to sell its Homebase chain for 340 million pounds.
* HSBC: The boss of UK government's tax agency, Lin Homer, has been accused of allowing HSBC to "get away scot free" after she said the HM Revenue and Customs was unlikely to pursue allegations that the bank's Swiss unit helped clients evade tax, Sky News reported on Wednesday. (bit.ly/1OrVSiY)
* ASOS: British online fashion retailer ASOS reported a recovery in international sales growth on Thursday, helped by moves to make its prices abroad more responsive to exchange rate volatility.
* BURBERRY: British fashion brand Burberry posted a 1 percent rise in third-quarter sales on Thursday buoyed by growth in China but said the outlook for the luxury sector remained uncertain.
* ALLIANCE TRUST: Alliance Trust has appointed Robert Smith as chairman from February as the investment firm implements a major overhaul following pressure from activist investor Elliott Advisors.
* UTV MEDIA: Northern Ireland broadcaster UTV Media Plc said it would return about 55 million pounds ($79 million) to shareholders after the sale of its television unit to ITV Plc.
* WILLIAM HILL: William Hill Plc said the head of its online operations is leaving the company, joining a slew of other high-profile departures and putting further pressure on Britain’s biggest bookmaker.
* INTEREST RATE HIKE: The Bank of England looks likely to signal another delay in raising interest rates on Thursday thanks to a renewed oil price slump, sputtering wage growth and the approach of an unsettling vote on Britain’s European Union membership.
* MOTOR INSURANCE: Comprehensive car insurance premiums in Britain rose 13.2 percent in 2015, the biggest annual rise since 2011, according to Confused.com’s car price insurance index.
* ADVERTISING SPEND: The number of British companies that raised their advertising budgets in the fourth quarter of 2015 slowed to its lowest level in nearly three years as concerns over the economy grew, according to an industry survey.
* SMALL OIL PRODUCERS: Mid-sized oil producing companies are proving more resilient against weak oil prices than expected as they are able to slash more costs, allowing them to press ahead with projects that are set to add even more barrels to a global supply glut.
* UK REFERENDUM: A cabinet minister in Prime Minister David Cameron’s government hinted on Thursday he could back leaving the European Union, saying that to remain in the bloc without significant reform would be disastrous for Britain.
* EX-DIVS: Ashtead and Next will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.42 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)