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Jan 5 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up to 4 points higher, or as much as 0.06 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.03 percent by 0757 GMT after having briefly turned negative.
* The UK blue chip index closed slightly firmer at 0.17 percent higher at 7,189.74 points, near a record high, on Wednesday as a rally in housebuilders was offset by a slump in retailers after Next issued a profit warning.
* PERSIMMON: Britain’s second biggest housebuilder by volume Persimmon PSN.L said its sales were up since Britons backed leaving the European Union and posted an expected 8 percent rise in full-year revenue to 3.14 billion pounds ($3.9 billion).
* TULLOW: Africa-focused oil producer Tullow Oil Plc named Les Wood, vice president of finance and commercial, as interim chief financial officer as its finance chief Ian Springett takes an extended leave of absence for medical treatment.
* PURECIRCLE: Sweetener maker PureCircle Ltd said the detainment of shipments of its low-calorie sweetener stevia in the U.S. would lead to a 14 percent drop in first-half group sales.
* BARCLAYS: A former Barclays Plc trader pleaded guilty on Wednesday to U.S. charges arising from a global investigation into the manipulation of foreign-exchange prices at major banks, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
* BHP BILLITON: Workers at BHP Billiton-owned Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, could go on strike in February if collective contract talks with the company are unsuccessful, union spokesman Carlos Allende told Reuters on Wednesday.
* GLENCORE: Russian state holding company Rosneftegaz closed a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and commodities trader Glencore to sell a 19.5 percent stake in state-owned oil major Rosneft, Rosneft said on Wednesday.
* UK RETAILERS: The worst start to a trading year for Next shares since 1991 underscores the plight of mid-tier UK retailers hit by a combination of fierce online competition and higher costs driven by a weaker pound.
* UK ECONOMY: Britain’s economy retained its momentum through the final months of 2016, but inflation pressures mounted at the fastest pace since records began almost 20 years ago, a major business survey showed on Thursday.
* UK CAR SALES: British new car sales hit a record of 2.7 million units in 2016 despite fears that the Brexit vote could hit demand, although there are signs that registrations will fall this year, preliminary industry data showed on Thursday.
* UK IMMIGRATION: Britain should look at introducing a regionally based immigration system in which visas could be issued for specific areas of the country, a parliamentary committee said in a report on Thursday.
* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Thursday on doubts producers would fully deliver on promises to cut output, although record U.S. automobile sales and falling crude stocks offered markets some support.
* 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 Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)