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LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 7 to 9 points lower, or as much as 0.1 percent down, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.2 percent lower at 6,696.60 points in the previous session.
* BHP BILLITON - The global miner is confident of at least maintaining its dividend even at current weak commodity prices, shrugging off an iron ore price slide triggered by increased output by BHP and other mega producers.
* BHP Billiton said on Thursday it plans to hold a shareholder vote in May 2015 on its plan to spin off its aluminium, coal, manganese and silver assets into a separate company.
* Brent crude held above $78 a barrel as the market waited for news on possible cuts in oil output ahead of next week's OPEC meeting.
* VODAFONE - The company would be open to selling off more non-core assets such as its interests in Australia, Hungary and the Czech Republic if it received the right offer, Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said on Wednesday.
* London nickel hit a five-week high on Thursday on expectations of a shortage of ore in China, as stainless steel makers run down their raw material stockpiles following an Indonesian ban on ore exports.
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