(Adds company news items and futures)
July 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 26 points higher at 7,416.3 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 up 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* AVIVA: Aviva, Britain’s biggest life insurer, said it would sell Friends Provident International (FPIL), which provides life assurance and investment products in Asia and the Middle East, to a unit of International Financial Group for 340 million pounds ($443 million).
* TALKTALK: British broadband operator TalkTalk said on Wednesday it added 20,000 broadband customers on its network in its first quarter while churn fell to 1.2 percent, helped by take-up of its fixed low price plans.
* MORGAN SINDALL: British construction company Morgan Sindall expects full-year results to be significantly ahead of its expectations, it said on Wednesday, citing a strong performance by its office installation and refurbishment business.
* RPC GROUP: British packaging company RPC Group Plc said first quarter revenue was “well ahead” of last year helped by acquisitions and favourable currency movements.
* DRAX: British power producer Drax reported a half-year pretax loss on Wednesday after a one-off hit on foreign exchange hedging.
* RECKITT BENCKISER: McCormick & Co Inc said it would buy the food business of British consumer goods conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc for $4.2 billion to expand its footprint in the attractive condiments category.
* BP: BP Plc is considering an initial public offering of its vast U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast pipeline assets, the company said on Tuesday, a move that would raise cash.
* BHP BILLITON: BHP Billiton’s fiscal fourth quarter iron ore output rose 8 percent from a year ago, enabling the world’s third largest producer to meet its full-year guidance and set a bigger target for the current year.
* BHP BILLITON: Vale SA on Tuesday said a Brazilian judge suspended a lawsuit over the miner Samarco Mineração SA’s dam collapse in November 2015. Samarco is owned by Vale and BHP Billiton.
* BP: Argentina’s state-run oil firm YPF SA, France’s Total SA , Wintershall Energía SA and BP unit Pan American Energy LLC announced a $1.15 billion joint investment on Tuesday to increase shale gas production.
* ANTOFAGASTA: Workers at Chile’s Zaldivar copper mine, owned by Antofagasta Plc, will vote on a new contract offer later this week, the union said on Tuesday, after a vote to strike last week prompted government-mediated negotiations.
* GLENCORE: Sanjeev Gupta, the Liberty House metals tycoon whose family owns GFG Alliance, has confirmed that the group has made a bid for Glencore's Tahmoor coking coal mine in Australia, the Financial Times reported. on.ft.com/2vzW8Kb
* BRITAIN INFLATION: British inflation unexpectedly slowed last month for the first time since October, dousing expectations among investors that the Bank of England might soon raise interest rates for the first time in a decade.
* OIL: Oil prices fell on Wednesday after a rise in U.S. crude inventories and ongoing high output from OPEC producers revived concerns of a fuel supply overhang.
* The UK blue chip index FTSE 100 ended down 0.2 percent at 7,390.22 on Tuesday, after falls in financial stocks outweighed the effect of easing inflation and positive earnings updates from Royal Mail and British Land.
* 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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> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Siju Varghese)