LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 63 to 81 points lower, or down as much as 1.2 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index, which climbed to its highest level since mid-September on Tuesday, closed 0.2 percent higher at 6,825.94 points on Wednesday.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve said the economy was expanding “at a solid pace” with strong job gains. The statement took investors by surprise and signalled the Fed remained firmly on track to raise interest rates this year. U.S. equities reacted negatively and fell 0.9 to 1.4 percent.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - The oil major said it would lower its capital investment in 2015 and curtail overall spending by a total of $15 billion over the next 3 years in response to lower oil prices.
* 3I GROUP - The British private equity firm raised 245 million pounds ($371 million) from sales of investments in the final quarter of last year, with strong market valuations for assets boosting its net asset value.
* LONMIN - South Africa’s Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, said it would maintain its annual production target but cut capital expenditure in 2015 as it battles with low metal prices.
* ROYAL MAIL - Britain’s postal operator said its chairman Donald Brydon would step down later this year and that a search for his successor had begun.
* NATIONAL GRID - The company commenced a new irrevocable and non-discretionary programme to purchase ordinary shares in capital of company during period running from 29 january 2015 to end no later than 4 march 2015.
* BANKS - A federal judge on Wednesday said U.S. investors may pursue a nationwide antitrust lawsuit accusing 12 major banks of rigging prices in the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. The bank defendants include Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas and Citigroup.
* THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP - The company plans to put Russell Investments up for sale in mid-February and hopes to fetch around $1.4 billion for the unit, two sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE - First results from a human trial of an Ebola vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline show it is safe and generates an immune response, scientists said on Wednesday, but larger trials are needed to see if it protects and if a booster is needed.
* GLENCORE - The world’s largest exporter of thermal coal is considering closing some of its South African coal mines and laying off workers due to deteriorating market conditions and falling prices.
* Oil remained weak in Asia on Thursday after data showing record U.S. stockpiles sent prices tumbling to the lowest level in nearly six years in the previous session and analysts said a global glut would continue to keep the market under pressure.
* British house price growth slowed on an annual basis for a fifth month in a row in January, figures from mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Thursday.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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