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LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures contract was flat , with spreadbetters calling the cash market up by 0.1-0.3 percent at the open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on .
* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.2 percent at 6,753.75 points on Tuesday.
* BHP BILLITON : BHP Billiton on Wednesday said it will take a $2 billion impairment on its U.S. shale operations - the third writedown in three years.
* BURBERRY : British luxury goods maker Burberry on Wednesday posted underlying growth of 8 percent in first quarter retail revenue, a slowdown from the previous period partly reflecting a further deceleration in Hong Kong.
* CHINESE ECONOMY: China’s economy grew an annual 7 percent in the second quarter, steady with the previous quarter and slightly better than analysts’ forecasts, though further stimulus is still expected after the quarter ended with a stock market crash.
* IAG /AER LINGUS : IAG has gained European Union antitrust approval for its 1.3-billion-euro ($1.4 billion) bid for Irish carrier Aer Lingus after agreeing to make concessions to ease competition worries, the EU Commission said on Tuesday.
* SEVERN TRENT : British utility Severn Trent said its trading performance had been in line with its expectations.
* ICAP : Markets operator and brokerage ICAP said trading volumes had been reduced due to uncertainties over Greece.
* HALFORDS : Car parts and bicycles retailer Halfords reported a rise in first quarter underlying sales.
* HOCHSCHILD MINING : Hochschild Mining said it was on track to achieve its 2015 production target.
* MEGGITT : The Daily Mail newspaper’s stock market report cited revived gossip that United Technologies or Honeywell could be eyeing a bid for aircrafts parts manufacturer Meggitt. The Daily Mail had already reported about bid speculation surrounding Meggitt in July 2014.
* BANK OF ENGLAND/INTEREST RATES: The Bank of England should raise interest rates their from record low levels soon and it does not have to wait for the U.S. Federal Reserve to move first, policymaker David Miles said on Tuesday.
* BRITISH PENSIONS: British pensioners have withdrawn more than 1.8 billion pounds ($2.8 bln) from their retirement pot in the two months since the government gave them the freedom to spend it on whatever they wished, the UK insurance trade body said.
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 Sudip Kar-Gupta)