UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Nov 24
LONDON Nov 24 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 2 to 6 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 1.1 percent higher at 6,750.76 points on Friday. It rose for a fifth straight week, after a surprise interest rate cut in China boosted mining and commodities stocks.
* China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions, concerned that falling prices could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making.
* AVIVA, FRIENDS LIFE - British insurer Aviva said on Friday it had agreed terms on a possible deal to buy rival Friends Life for 5.6 billion pounds ($8.8 billion) as British pension reforms put pressure on insurance companies to find new business.
* Friends Life said it had suspended a previously announced buyback programme until an agreement on other terms and conditions of any Aviva offer.
* BHP BILLITON - The global miner stepped up its cost-cutting plans on Monday as the world's biggest miner battles a sharp slide in iron ore, coal and oil prices, and said the unloved assets it is spinning off are still making money despite the rout.
* BHP is laying the groundwork for a dramatic rise in copper production in a drive to buffer its exposure to sagging iron ore, oil and coal markets.
* PETROFAC - The company said it was on track to deliver full year 2014 net profit towards lower end of $580 million to $600 million range provided in the previous guidance.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Italy's retail bank Intesa SanPaolo is looking at a possible bid for Coutts International, the wealth management arm of Royal Bank of Scotland, the Financial Times reported. Continuación...