Feb 7 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 7 points lower on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. * SHELL: Oil and gas major Royal Dutch Shell said it plans to build its first utility-scale solar farm in Australia, part of a global push into the power business and cleaner energy. * ECONOMY: British companies hired permanent staff in January at the fastest rate in just over a year and shops reported the biggest increase in sales since 2014, according to two surveys which added to signs of a post-election bounce in the economy. * RETAILERS: British retailers had their biggest increase in sales in six years in January as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's sweeping election win and price-cutting encouraged consumers to spend more, a survey showed. * HARGREAVES LANSDOWN: Hargreaves Lansdown's largest investor Peter Hargreaves will sell shares worth about 500 million pounds ($647 million) in the British investment platform via a sale to institutional investors, a bookrunner on the deal said. * OIL: Oil prices climbed after Russia said it backs a recommendation for OPEC and other producers to deepen output cuts amid falling demand for crude as China battles the coronavirus epidemic that has hit global markets. * GOLD: Gold prices were steady after two days of gains as share markets lost ground, with the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, showing no signs of slowing down, escalating fears of a broader impact on economic growth. * UK shares advanced for a fourth straight session on Thursday as risk sentiment picked up after China pledged to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports, though Royal Mail slid to an all-time low after warning of a challenging year ahead. * UK CORPORATE DIARY: Bellway BWY.L Trading Update TUI TUIT.L Quarterly Results TODAY'S UK PAPERS > Financial Times > Other business headlines (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.