LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 12 to 20 points higher, or up as much as 0.3 percent, on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The blue-chip FTSE index closed down 1.9 percent at 6,182.72 points on Monday, the lowest closing level since mid-2013. It fell 6.6 percent last week and is down more than 8 percent so far this year after surging 14 percent in 2013.
* Britain’s main banks would be able to withstand a sharp fall in house prices, other than the troubled Co-operative Bank, the Bank of England said on Tuesday.
* State-backed RBS and Lloyds only scraped through the BoE’s first sector-wide test of the health of major lenders after both took pre-emptive measures to shore up their capital defences before the BoE reached its conclusions. Both banks will need to seek permission from the BoE’s regulatory arm before paying any dividends.
* RBS said it still had work to do to build up its defences against potential losses after it narrowly passed the stress test.
* INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP - IHG, one of the world’s largest hoteliers, said it had agreed to acquire U.S.-focused Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for $430 million to boost its exposure to the boutique hotel space.
* Activity in China’s factory sector shrank in December for the first time in seven months as new orders declined, adding to expectations that more stimulus may be needed to avert a sharper economic slowdown. The flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in December from November’s final reading of 50.0.
* VODAFONE GROUP - The British mobile phone operator will get C$850 million ($726 million) in Canadian trade financing to help it buy enterprise services from BlackBerry Ltd, Ottawa said on Tuesday.
* BT - The company has entered exclusive talks with the owners of EE for a potential 12.5 billion-pound ($19.6 billion) acquisition deal to give the former UK state telecoms firm the top position in mobile as well as fixed line broadband services.
* Britain’s biggest lenders are waiting to find out if they have passed a new annual health check of their finances by the Bank of England (BoE), designed to avoid a repeat of the spate of bank bailouts which cost British taxpayers billions. The results of the first test will be published on Tuesday at 0700 GMT.
* STANDARD CHARTERED - The bank is selling its Hong Kong and Shenzhen consumer finance businesses to a consortium that includes a Chinese state firm, helping the emerging markets-focused lender to clinch its biggest asset disposal as part of a restructuring.
* Oil prices fell on Tuesday, with Brent mired near a 5-1/2 year low close to $60 per barrel, as Chinese factory activity slowed for the first time in seven months and stumbling emerging market currencies dented demand expectations.
* London copper slipped to its lowest in a week after China data.
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