LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 2 to 3 points lower, or down 0.05 percent, on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index were up 0.05 percent by 0633 GMT.
* The blue-chip index closed 2.79 points lower, or 0.04 percent, at 6,646.60 points in the previous session. The index, which dropped 2.8 percent last week, is down 1.5 percent so far this year.
* Investors will keep a close eye on Asia-focussed stocks, with tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters extending a blockade of Hong Kong streets on Tuesday, stockpiling supplies and erecting makeshift barricades ahead of what some fear may be a push by police to clear the roads before Chinese National Day.
* SHIRE - AbbVie’s chief executive has sought to quash any doubts that AbbVie would go through with its acquisition of Shire in the wake of the Treasury’s proposed changes to U.S. inversion rules, the Wall Street Journal said.
* British mortgage lender Nationwide recorded the first monthly fall in house prices for more than a year this month, causing the annual rate of house price growth to fall to an eight-month low.
* WOLSELEY - The British plumbing supplies group posted a 8.6 percent rise in annual profit and said it would hike its dividend by 25 percent and launch a 250 million pound share buyback after strong U.S. trading.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - The bank said the third quarter has seen continued improvement in economic conditions and asset prices in its key markets. It also said it has cut how much money it sets aside to cover unwanted assets due to an improving economy, especially in Ireland.
Separately, it said late on Monday it would invest more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to improve services for its commercial and corporate customers.
* London copper was flat but not far off three-month lows on Tuesday after a private sector reading of China’s factory health fell slightly from initial estimates, with the metal facing its steepest monthly loss since March on a looming jump in supply.
* China’s final HSBC/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) hovered at 50.2 in September, unchanged from the August reading which was a three-month low, but lower than a preliminary reading of 50.5. The data eased fears of a hard landing but pointed to a still-sluggish economy.
* INTERTEK GROUP - The British testing company has appointed a new chief executive to replace retiring chief executive Wolfhart Hauser from May 16 next year. Andre Lacroix will join from multinational car dealer Inchcape , where he has been chief executive since 2005.
* NEXT - The British clothing retailer said it will have to lower its full-year profit forecast if the country’s unusually warm autumn weather continues.
* Brent crude futures edged back down towards $97 a barrel on Tuesday because of ample supplies, a lacklustre global economy and the strengthening of the dollar to a four-year peak against a basket of major currencies.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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