LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 18 to 26 points higher, or as much as 0.4 percent on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.6 percent, or 37.26 points, at 6,679.37 points in the previous session.
* British firms hired permanent employees at the slowest rate in 18 months in November, although starting salaries rose faster due to staff shortages in many sectors, a survey showed on Friday.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - British infrastructure group Balfour Beatty said it had rejected a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) offer from John Laing Infrastructure Fund for its public-private partnership assets.
* BERKELEY - London-focused housebuilder Berkeley said its half-year pre-tax profit rose by 80 percent to 305 million pounds due to strong demand in the capital, with the firm expecting to meet full-year market expectations.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE - The drugmaker said on Thursday it had decided not to sell a portfolio of older drugs marketed in North America and Europe after considering offers from potential buyers.
* ICAP - The world's largest interdealer broker said late on Thursday it would combine its foreign exchange trading platform EBS and fixed-income trading platform BrokerTec.
* U.S. employment growth likely accelerated a bit in November. Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 230,000 jobs last month after rising by 214,000 in October, according to a Reuters survey of economists.
* London nickel prices struck their highest in more than two months on Friday and were set to notch up a weekly gain of nearly 6 percent, as the price of ore in China rose on dwindling supply.
* Brent crude extended losses below $70 a barrel on Friday and was set for a second weekly fall, with Saudi Arabia cutting prices in another indication it would maintain output in an oversupplied market.
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