(Adds company news, futures)
July 5 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were down 0.18 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* OCADO: British online retailer Ocado said on Wednesday it expected the international deal it secured last month to be the first of many as it reported a 2.7 percent rise in first-half core earnings.
* PERSIMMON: Britain’s second biggest housebuilder by volume Persimmon said first-half sales rose by 7 percent, with a national election, which can often dampen demand as buyers put off major purchases, not affecting the market.
* BOOKER GROUP/TESCO: Booker Group, the wholesaler Tesco is trying to buy for 3.7 billion pounds ($4.8 billion), said like-for-like sales rose 4.2 percent in its first quarter, helped by favourable weather and the late Easter.
* MAN GROUP: Man Group, the world's biggest listed hedge fund, has closed down a quantitative trading division as it looks to focus on other strategies, Bloomberg reported citing a person with knowledge of the matter. (bloom.bg/2sDAbNr)
* SHELL: Pakistan’s oil and gas regulator expects the first report this week on a road tanker explosion, involving a Shell Pakistan contractor, that killed 209 people, a spokesman for the regulatory authority said on Tuesday. Shell Pakistan Ltd, a subsidiary of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, issued a statement shortly after the accident saying it would cooperate fully with all investigations.
* WORLDPAY: Worldpay Group Plc, Britain’s largest payment processor, on Tuesday received rival bid approaches from U.S. credit card technology firm Vantiv Inc and JPMorgan Chase Bank, sending its shares up by more than 25 percent.
* LSE: FTSE Russell is likely to restrict the inclusion of companies with unequal voting rights in some of its equity indexes, to address investor concerns over falling corporate governance standards, the CEO of the world’s largest index company, owned by the London Stock Exchange Group, said.
* SPORTSDIRECT: Mike Ashley, the founder of British retailer Sports Direct , allegedly "secretly" paid the firm's former CEO 1 million pounds a year as a bonus from his personal funds to allegedly keep down the pay of other staff, the Guardian reported. (bit.ly/2tFS2Tv)
* NORTH KOREA: North Korea said on Wednesday its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can carry a large nuclear warhead, triggering a call by Washington for global action to hold it accountable for pursuing nuclear weapons.
* QATAR: Qatar announced plans for a steep rise in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) production capacity on Tuesday that suggested it was ready for a protracted dispute with Gulf neighbours, but Doha said it was doing all it could to reach agreement.
* UK SHOP PRICES: Overall prices in British shops fell in June at the slowest annual pace since November 2013, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said on Wednesday, adding it expects rising inflation pressure soon to prompt outright price increases.
* UK HOUSEHOLDS: A Bank of England policymaker who last month voted to raise interest rates was quoted as saying on Tuesday that he was “reasonably confident” that investment and exports would compensate for a consumer slowdown.
* OIL: Oil dipped on Wednesday, pulled down by another rise in OPEC supplies despite a pledge to cut production, but geopolitical tensions in the Korean peninsula and the Middle East put a floor under prices.
* GOLD: Gold prices edged up on Wednesday as tensions on the Korean peninsula stoked safe-haven demand for the metal, while the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting was also in focus.
* COPPER: London copper was treading water on Wednesday amid heightened risk aversion in Asia following a North Korean missile test, while strike threats at a South American copper mine lent support to prices.
* The UK blue chip index ended down 0.3 percent at 7,357.23 points on Tuesday, as a rally in Worldpay shares to a record high was not enough to offset a broad-based decline among British shares, after a strong start to the second half for the UK’s top share index.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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