LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 54 to 67 points higher, or up 1.1 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index finished 0.1 percent higher at 6,336.48 points on Wednesday after hitting an intra-day low of 6,240.32 points.
* BARCLAYS - The 500 million pounds ($783.70 million) Barclays set aside to settle allegations of rigging the foreign exchange market will not be enough, the bank's Chief Executive Antony Jenkins said in an interview to Sky News.
* BT GROUP - BT is preparing a giant financing package including a 2 billion pounds rights issue to help fund its planned takeover of EE, the mobile operator. The share placing will help to keep the telecom giant's level of debt at a manageable level as it faces big bills next year from an anticipated increase in pension fund top-up payments and a jump in Premier League rights costs, The Telegraph reported. (bit.ly/1wMkhZS)
* SHIRE - Shire, whose proposed sale to AbbVie Inc fell apart in October, is considering an offer for U.S-based drug developer NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
* ROYAL MAIL - Taxpayers lost out on a lower sum from the privatisation of Royal Mail than the 1 billion pounds suggested by MPs earlier this year, a report commissioned by Vince Cable will conclude this week, Sky News reported. (bit.ly/1zvhQxc)
* UNITED UTILITIES - The company's shares are set to go ex-dividend on Thursday, shaving 0.34 points off the FTSE 100.
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