(Adds futures, company news)
EDINBURGH, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening slightly higher on Thursday, with futures firming 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up by 0.8 percent at 6,453.87 points on Wednesday, rising to its highest level in nearly three weeks, buoyed by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve would signal it is in no rush to raise interest rates.
* However, while the Fed did retain its basic guidance that overnight borrowing costs would remain near zero for a “considerable time”, it dropped the characterisation of the U.S. labour market slack as “significant” in a show of confidence in the economy’s prospects, the part markets perceived as containing a slightly hawkish turn.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - Royal Dutch Shell beat expectations with core earnings of $5.8 billion for the third quarter and maintained its dividend as both upstream and downstream division delivered strong results.
Europe’s biggest oil company by market value also said it had appointed former chairman of Bank of America, Charles Holliday, as its chairman. Holliday will take over from current chairman Jorma Ollila in 2015.
* BARCLAYS - Barclays Plc has set aside 500 million pounds ($799 million) to cover potential fines for manipulating currency markets, taking the shine off a rise in third quarter profits as it cut costs.
Separately, a Saudi real estate company has sued Barclays for $10 billion, claiming the bank ceased pursuing lease payments due from the Saudi government on military complexes in the kingdom in order to obtain a lucrative banking license there.
Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland are poised to set aside roughly 1 billion pounds(1.60 billion US dollar) on aggregate for settlements with regulators during the next week following a probe into the abuse of critical foreign exchange benchmarks, Sky News reported late on Wednesday. (bit.ly/1FW9y42)
* AVIVA - Insurer Aviva said new business rose 15 percent across the group in the first nine months of 2014, boosted by a strong performance in Europe and Asia and improvements in the company’s UK life business.
British oil and gas producer BG Group Plc will delay until the next decade a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on Canada’s Pacific coast, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting the head of the company’s Canadian unit.
* ASTRAZENECA - A new two-in-one diabetes pill from AstraZeneca has been approved by U.S. regulators, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Francesco Canepa)