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LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures contract fell 0.3 percent on Thursday, with uncertainty as the country’s national election got underway set to weigh on the market. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.1 percent at 6,933.74 points on Wednesday.
* BRITISH ELECTION: British voters get to decide on Thursday who they want to rule the world’s fifth-largest economy in a tight election that could yield weak government, propel the United Kingdom towards a vote on EU membership and stoke Scottish desire for secession. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and Ed Miliband’s opposition Labour Party have been neck and neck in opinion polls for months, indicating neither will win enough seats for an outright majority in the 650-seat parliament.
* BT : BT Group posted a better than expected 3 percent rise in full-year earnings and raised its outlook for free cash flow after a strong finish to the year, when it connected a record 455,000 fibre broadband customers.
* AVIVA : Insurer Aviva said on Thursday its value of new business grew 14 percent to 247 million pounds in the first quarter, and its combined operating ratio improved by 1.3 percentage points, to 96.4 percent.
* RSA : Insurer RSA posted a 1 percent year-on-year rise in net written premiums in the first quarter, although it warned lower interest rates and currency moves were hitting its business.
* BAE SYSTEMS : BAE Systems, the world’s third-largest defence contractor by revenue, stood by its forecast for marginally higher earnings this year, and added that its performance would be biased to the second-half period.
* WM MORRISON : Morrisons, Britain’s No. 4 grocer, on Thursday posted a deteriorating fall in underlying sales, further illustrating the tough turnaround task facing its new boss.
* RIO TINTO : Rio Tinto vowed to continue producing iron ore at full tilt, despite a 55 percent plunge in prices since the start of last year, underpinned by its forecast that China’s steel demand will grow towards 1 billion tonnes.
* RANDGOLD RESOURCES : Gold miner Randgold Resources Ltd said its first-quarter profit from mining fell 16 percent, hurt by lower gold prices and reduced production.
* NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK : National Australia Bank, the country’s top lender by assets, will raise A$5.5 billion ($4.38 billion) in a rights issue as part of plans to exit its troubled British unit, a strong signal the new CEO intends to boost shareholder returns.
* LIBOR TRIAL: The London trial of Tom Hayes, a former UBS and Citigroup trader who is the first person in the world to face a jury trial over allegations of a conspiracy to rig Libor interest rates, has been delayed by two weeks.
* UNILEVER : Consumer goods group Unilever said late on Wednesday that it had bought U.S. skincare brand Kate Somerville.
* BLUECREST: BlueCrest’s flagship macro hedge fund, managed by billionaire Michael Platt, gained 2.8 percent in April, recording its highest monthly return in more than five years, an investor newsletter seen by Reuters showed.
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 Sudip Kar-Gupta)