(Adds futures, company news)
LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 26 to 37 points, or as much as 0.5 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.8 percent at 0727 GMT. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed down 28.71 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,990.97 points on Wednesday, weighed down by a drop in chip designer ARM , having hit a record intra-day high of 7,065.08 on Tuesday.
* EASYJET - British low cost carrier easyJet EZJ.L upgraded forecasts for its first-half period, saying it expected foreign currency tailwinds to provide a 20 million pounds boost, potentially helping it to overcome a usual seasonal loss.
* RIO TINTO - Rio Tinto Chief Executive Sam Walsh said putting a cap on iron ore production was not in Australia’s national interest, dismissing a suggestion it could help lift the traded price of the steelmaking commodity.
* GLENCORE - Glencore has decided to close its West Wallsend underground coal mine in Australia in 2016, several months earlier than planned, saying poor coal prices meant it would not make sense to extend the life of the mine.
* ANTOFAGASTA, ANGLO AMERICAN - Torrential downpours in the north of Chile, the world’s biggest copper producer, have forced companies to suspend operations at several of the area’s major mines, putting an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of capacity of the red metal on hold.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - Shell expects only a fraction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects already approved by the Canadian government to go ahead in the next decade, an executive said on Wednesday.
Shell will also carry out a planned turnaround at its 255,000 barrel per day Scotford upgrader in northern Alberta during spring of this year, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
* HSBC - The Malaysian Islamic banking arm of HSBC Holdings will tap the Islamic bonds (sukuk) market for only the third time on Friday, as part of a 3 billion ringgit ($816 million) sukuk programme, the lender said in a regulatory filing.
* STANDARD CHARTERED - Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, a unit of Standard Chartered, reported on Thursday a 7.5 percent rise in pre-tax profit for 2014 to 14.35 billion shillings ($156 million) as net interest income climbed.
* SPORTS DIRECT - Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer employs around 75 percent of its 19,000 UK workers on much criticised zero-hour contracts, its chairman said on Wednesday.
* SUPERGROUP - SuperGroup, the British company behind the Superdry fashion brand, said on Thursday it would start paying dividends with an interim payout in its 2015-16 financial year.
* Trading platforms targeting small individual investors face a wave of consolidation as regulators insist they hold more capital and impose more rules on them, the head of brokerage London Capital Group said on Wednesday.
* EX-DIVS - British Land, Prudential, Schroders, Sky and Smiths Group go ex-dividend on Thursday, after which investors will no longer qualify for the latest dividend payout. The estimated impact of this will trim around 3.8 points off the FTSE 100 index.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Alistair Smout)