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LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat to up by 1 point according to financial bookmakers, while the FTSE 100 futures contract was also trading flat by 0620 GMT. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up by 0.9 percent, or 56.51 points, at 6,681.76 points on Tuesday.
* A host of FTSE 100 stocks go ex-dividend on Wednesday, including BG and Legal & General, and will take around 9 points off the index.
Data showed on Wednesday China’s HSBC/Markit flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for April rose to 48.3 from March’s final reading of 48.0, with analysts seeing the figure as an initial sign of stabilisation in the economy following the government’s targeted measures to support growth.
Associated British Foods met forecasts with a 1 percent rise in first-half profit with a major fall in its sugar business offset by a strong performance from its Primark clothing chain and progress in its grocery operation.
Engineering company AMEC said it had continued to trade in line with expectations for 2014.
ARM Holdings, the British company whose chip technology powers Apple’s iPhone, reported a 9 percent rise in first-quarter profit and said its customers were signalling an upturn in demand in the second half.
Property company Hammerson said economic recovery was driving tenant demand.
Anglo-Dutch business information provider Reed Elsevier said it expected to post another year of underlying revenue and earnings growth in 2014 after trading broadly in line during the first quarter.
Sportswear retailer Sports Direct posted an 11.5 percent rise in Q4 gross profit.
Nigeria has awarded most of its long-term oil contracts worth an estimated $40 billion a year to local companies, according to a confidential list seen by Reuters, meaning global traders need to partner with them to access crude from Africa’s top producer.
Oil major BP sold four Alaska oilfields for an undisclosed sum, while the high-stakes penalty phase of BP’s trial over its role in the 2010 U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil spill will start next January, court officials said.
An independent Scotland would work closely with northern England to boost its economy and job opportunities, Scottish leader Alex Salmond will say on Wednesday in a bid to allay concerns south of the border about Scotland quitting the United Kingdom.
British Business Secretary Vince Cable on Tuesday warned banks and other major companies to rein in excessive executive pay or face tighter rules, in a letter aimed at Barclays and other FTSE 100 companies ahead of their annual general meetings.
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)