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Aug 4 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 2 points at 7473 on Friday, according to financial spreadbetters, with futures down 0.18 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* HARGREAVES: Hargreaves Lansdown Plc on Friday said it will not pay a special dividend for the financial year ended June 30, after a notification from UK’s Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) that the regulator intends to reassess the company’s capital requirements due to strong recent growth in scale and complexity.
* BHP BILLITON: BHP Billiton is looking for ways to shore up power supply and bring down power costs at its Olympic Dam copper mine in Australia, as it plans to expand following a string of electrical outages, the mine’s head said on Friday.
* PEARSON: British education group Pearson slashed its interim dividend by 72 percent to 5 pence on Friday as it started a restructuring programme to tackle the pressures facing its business.
* MILLENNIUM & COPTHORNE: Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc (M&C) reported a 12.5 percent rise in first-half profit, helped by stronger demand at its hotels in London and Singapore and sterling’s weakness.
* MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS: Britain’s Merlin Entertainments, operator of tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds waxworks, said it remained cautious on the outlook due to the recent attacks in London and Manchester, though it maintained full-year profit guidance.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND: Royal Bank of Scotland swung to a profit in the first half of the year, it said on Friday, as its recovery continued following a 2 billion pound ($2.65 billion)loss in the same period last year amid hefty restructuring and legal costs.
* ECONOMY: British shops saw a dip in sales last month, with fashion retailers enduring their worst July for eight years, a survey showed on Friday, adding to evidence consumers are cutting back spending on discretionary items. Britain’s economy has slowed as the rise in inflation since last year’s Brexit vote and modest pay growth have squeezed consumers’ real earnings.
* OIL: Oil markets dipped on Friday, with U.S. crude remaining below $50 per barrel, restrained by rising output from the United States as well as producer club OPEC. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $51.90 a barrel, down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close and around 70 cents for the week.
* GOLD: Gold held steady on Friday, close to a seven-week high hit earlier this week, as the dollar eased to hover near multi-month lows ahead of monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due out later and amid continuing U.S. political uncertainty. Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,268.00 per ounce at 0434 GMT. It was on track to end the week almost unchanged.
* LONDON COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange barely budged from overnight levels, trading at $6,343 a tonne at 0100 GMT.
* UK blue chips rose to a one-week high on Thursday after the Bank of England kept rates on hold, hitting the pound and lifting export-oriented stocks accordingly. The market is also buoyed by solid earnings updates. The FTSE rose 0.85 percent to 7,474.77 points with big international firms like Diageo extending gains as sterling weakened following the central bank’s decision.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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