(Updates futures, adds company new item)
Dec 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 17-22 points, or 0.3-0.4 percent, on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.7 percent by 0755 GMT ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 1.2 percent higher on Thursday at 6,102.54 points, tracking gains on other equity markets after investors took the first U.S. interest rate rise in nearly a decade as a sign of policymakers’ confidence in the world’s biggest economy.
* SPORTS DIRECT: Sports Direct, Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer, said its founder and deputy chairman Mike Ashley will personally oversee a review of its agency workers’ terms and conditions following criticism of the firm’s practices.
* BG GROUP: BG Group Plc, which is to be acquired by Shell, has received the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s green light to construct and operate a natural gas liquefaction and export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. BG had said earlier that the decision for the project had been delayed until 2016 from 2015.
* NPOWER: RWE-owned power utility Npower has been fined 26 million pounds ($38.83 million) by Britain’s gas and electricity market regulator for failing to treat customers fairly.
* AGGREKO: British temporary power provider Aggreko has pulled out of a tender to supply generators to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year, dealing a blow to organisers rushing to secure an energy source for the world’s largest sporting event.
* BHP BILLITON: Moody’s places ratings of BHP Billiton on review for downgrade.
* GSK: British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline said it would buy HIV drugs at different stages of development from U.S. rival Bristol-Myers Squibb in a deal which would boost its ViiV Healthcare unit.
* BARCLAYS: Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings and Julius Baer are seen as potential bidders for Barclays Asian private wealth business, valued at about $600 million, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* AB INBEV/SABMILLER: Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has agreed to buy rival brewer SABMiller, plans to contact potential bidders for SABMiller’s Grolsch and Peroni beers on Friday and wrap up deals in less than three months, sources close to the process said.
* STANDARD CHARTERED: Shares of Standard Chartered (StanChart) were upgraded by broker CLSA on expectations the UK bank’s “challenging” recovery could lead to a takeover by a white knight.
* SABMILLER/COCA-COLA: SABMiller and Coca-Cola’s proposed deal to combine their operations that mix, bottle and distribute soft drinks in Africa, cleared a major hurdle on Thursday after South Africa’s competition watchdog gave its preliminary approval.
* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell PLC called for tougher regulation of the Dubai crude benchmark, the Middle East’s most important oil-pricing mechanism, after record trade volumes skewed prices.
* JOHN LEWIS: John Lewis , Britain’s biggest department store chain, said on Friday its sales rose 3.0 percent year-on-year in the week to Dec. 12, driven by strong demand for technology items.
* UK STEEL: Britain received European Union approval on Thursday to compensate firms in some energy-intensive industries for the cost of “green taxes”, offering help to its ailing steel sector.
* EU REFERENDUM: Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday he could see a pathway to a deal to keep Britain in the European Union after EU leaders told him at a summit in Brussels they would not accept discrimination against EU migrant workers in the UK.
* CARNEY/ BANK OF ENGLAND: Mark Carney may serve a full eight-year term as Bank of England governor, three years longer than his original pledge, he hinted in an interview with the Financial Times published late on Thursday. (on.ft.com/1YlKAXr)
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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