(Updates company news items)
Dec 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening between 16 and 25 points higher, or up as much as 0.4 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index was up 1.8 percent to 6,902.23 at its close on Wednesday, as investors snapped up bank and mining stocks and rotated out of more “defensive” parts of the market.
* CAPITA: British outsourcer Capita said it planned to sell a raft of assets in a bid to protect its balance sheet after client indecision following Brexit prompted it to cut its profit forecast again.
* NOVAE: Lloyd’s of London insurer Novae Group Plc said larger individual risk and catastrophe losses in the year would lead to full-year underwriting contribution being lower than it expected.
* GLENCORE: Russia said on Wednesday it sold a stake in oil giant Rosneft for 10.5 billion euros ($11.3 billion) to Qatar and commodities trader Glencore, confounding expectations that the Kremlin’s standoff with the West would scare off major investors.
* NATIONAL GRID: Britain’s National Grid has agreed to sell a 61 percent equity interest in its UK gas distribution business to a group of infrastructure investors that implies an enterprise value of around 13.8 billion pounds ($17.5 billion), it said on Thursday.
* TUI GROUP: TUI Group, Europe’s largest travel company, posted core earnings growth of 12.5 percent in its 2015/2016 financial year, in line with a forecast, and said it was extending by a year an existing profit target.
* SPORTS DIRECT: Sports Direct reported a 57 percent slump in first-half profit, capping a calamitous period in which it has come under fire for the treatment of workers and was left badly exposed by the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote.
* OCADO: British online supermarket Ocado reported a 13.1 percent rise in fourth-quarter sales, representing a slight slowdown from the previous quarter.
* BHP: Workers at BHP Billiton-owned Escondida,, the world’s largest copper mine, expect to present the company with their proposal for a new collective contract and begin wage talks later this month, a union leader for the Chilean mine said on Wednesday.
* BREXIT: British lawmakers backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit timetable on Wednesday after she headed off a rebellion in her Conservative Party over a lack of insight into the government’s strategy to leave the European Union.
* BREXIT: While the British government tries to prevent parliament from having to pass a law to trigger the country’s exit from the European Union, Reuters research indicates the lower house would in fact support it, based on lawmakers’ recent statements.
* UK STEEL: Tata Steel UK offered British unions a deal guaranteeing jobs and investment on Wednesday in return for pension cuts, moving the company closer to merging its European assets with Germany’s Thyssenkrupp .
* UK ADVERTISING: Britain’s advertising regulator announced new rules on Thursday banning advertising of food or drinks high in sugar, fat or salt in children’s non-broadcast media, bringing standards in line with what is already required for television.
* UK HOUSE PRICES: British house prices hit a seven-month in November and companies hired more workers, surveys showed on Thursday, suggesting the economy remained resilient five months after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
* TOBACCO FIRMS/IMPERIAL BRANDS: The U.S. surgeon general on Thursday called for action to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among young people, noting they have overtaken cigarettes to become the most commonly used tobacco products among this group. Reynolds American Inc, Altria Group Inc and Fontem Ventures, a subsidiary of Imperial Brands Plc, are among the leading manufacturers of the devices.
* OIL: Oil prices edged up in thin trading on Thursday after steep falls in the previous session, supported by a weaker dollar, positive economic data and a drawdown in U.S. crude stocks.
* METALS: London copper futures edged up on Thursday after losses the session before, buoyed as the U.S. dollar lost ground.
* EX-DIVS: Babcock International, 3i Group, Next and Royal Mail will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 1.01 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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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 Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sunil Nair)