(Adds futures, Marks & Spencer)
April 7 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 8 points, or 0.13 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.40 percent ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 70.40 points, or 1.2 percent, on Wednesday at 6,161.63, boosted by pharmaceuticals companies as Pfizer pulled out of a deal for Allergan, prompting speculation over other merger and acquisition activity in the sector.
* MARKS & SPENCER: British retailer Marks & Spencer on Thursday reported another fall in quarterly underlying sales in its clothing division, illustrating the extent of the challenge facing its new boss.
* BP: Shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis has recommended that investors in BP vote against Chief Executive Bob Dudley's proposed $19.6 million remuneration for 2015 after the British oil and gas company recorded its biggest annual loss.
* TATA STEEL: India's Tata Steel will launch the formal sale process for its British assets by Monday and give a "reasonable" timeframe to find a buyer, Britain's business minister said after meeting the company's chairman in Mumbai.
* UK BANKS: Three of Britain's largest banks are planning to close about 400 branches this year, according to people familiar with the situation, a new programme of closures that could leave thousands of customers without easy access to a bank.
* PREMIER FOODS: Britain's Premier Foods Plc said it had held "constructive" talks with U.S. spice company McCormick & Co Inc and that it would meet its main institutional investors over the next few days.
* PETROFAC: A director of the oil company Petrofac ordered "confidential payments" worth $2 million to help to secure an oil contract in Kuwait, according to documents seen by The Times. (bit.ly/1TCRjsx)
* SHIRE PLC: British drugmaker Shire Plc said it expected its deal to buy American drugmaker Baxalta Inc to proceed as expected, even as the U.S. treasury proposed new plans to curb inversion deals that let American firm skirt higher tax by shifting their domicile abroad.
* BREXIT: British Prime Minister David Cameron will urge young Britons on Thursday to make sure they vote in a June 23 referendum on membership of the European Union, warning that leaving the bloc would hit youth voters hardest.
* COPPER: London copper steadied on Thursday, after hitting near one-month lows earlier this week, as minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting showing caution among policymakers on raising U.S. interest rates knocked down the dollar and underpinned metal prices.
* OIL: Crude futures rose on a raft of supportive indicators on Thursday, although some traders warned that physical supply and demand fundamentals did not warrant a strong price recovery at this stage.
* EX-DIVS: Aviva Plc, GKN, Lloyds Banking Group, Pearson, Rexam, St. James's Place and Taylor Wimpey will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 9.46 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bengaluru)