Dec 29 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 23 points, or 0.33 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.5 percent higher at record closing levels on Wednesday at 7,106.08 points.
* IHG: InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, said on Wednesday it is investigating claims of a possible payment card breach at some of its hotels in the United States.
* BRITAIN ECONOMY: Morale in large British companies hit an 18-month high in the fourth quarter, bolstered by robust economic growth and recovering fully from a slump that followed the Brexit vote, a survey showed on Thursday.
* OIL: U.S. oil prices fell on Thursday after an industry report showed a surprise build in the country’s crude inventories, while Brent futures came off early lows to trade marginally higher.
* GOLD: Gold prices rose on Thursday, as the U.S. dollar slipped against a basket of currencies, but gains were limited on expectations of more rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve next year.
* EX-DIVS: BT Group and Dixons Carphone will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 1.75 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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