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LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 29 to 33 points higher, or up as much as 0.5 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index was up 0.1 percent by 0641 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index closed 1.5 percent stronger at 6,229.21 points in the previous session.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve will issue its latest rate decision at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Thursday. A rate hike would be the first in the United States in nearly a decade. Fed also will issue a fresh set of economic projections that will provide insight into the expected pace of any subsequent rate hikes and other key economic matters.
* MINERS - Antofagasta and Codelco suspended operations at two major copper mines in Chile, the world’s top producer of the metal, after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast on Wednesday, threatening over 600,000 tonnes of annual capacity. Other producers in the region Anglo American and BHP Billiton, said they were unscathed after the magnitude 8.3 earthquake hit off the coast.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, BG GROUP - Australia’s competition watchdog flagged concerns on Thursday that Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed $70 billion takeover of BG Group may lessen gas supply competition in eastern Australia and delayed a final decision on the bid to November.
* GLENCORE - The company is in talks with Franco-Nevada Corp , Silver Wheaton Corp, Royal Gold Inc and two other companies to sell portions of the future production of three South American copper mines, two sources with knowledge of the talks said.
* ROTORK - Valve-control systems maker Rotork said it expects a fall in full-year revenue and operating profit, hurt by project deferrals and cancellations and “particularly weak” trading in August.
* PHOENIX GROUP HOLDINGS - Britain’s largest consolidator of closed life funds is in talks to buy smaller rival Guardian Financial Services in a deal that could cost over 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), Sky News said on Wednesday. Phoenix said on Thursday it noted recent media speculation regarding a possible acquisition of Guardian Financial Services, but added that there was no certainty that the discussions would lead to any transaction.
* MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS - The world’s second biggest visitor attractions operator said key summer trade had remained weak at its UK theme parks following a serious roller coaster crash at its Alton Towers resort in June.
* PREMIER FARNELL - The engineering supply group said it would sell its industrial products division Akron Brass and stop direct operations in Brazil after it forecast a fall in first-half adjusted operating profit.
* Nearly 41 percent of Britain’s small business community want to leave the European Union because they do not believe membership is beneficial for their companies, a survey has shown ahead of a referendum likely next year.
* London copper popped to its highest in nearly two months after a large earthquake that struck Chile triggered concerns over supply disruptions, before tailing back on persistent worries over China’s economy.
* JUST RETIREMENT - British annuity provider Just Retirement posted an 11 percent fall in underlying pre-tax profit for its 2014/15 financial year ahead of an agreed $1 billion acquisition of rival Partnership Assurance.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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> 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 Atul Prakash)