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LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat on Friday, according to the June futures contract. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 20.07 points, 0.3 percent, at 6,871.29 points on Thursday, with takeover speculation surrounding firms such as Smith & Nephew and Weir lifting investors’ appetite for riskier assets.
* ASTRAZENECA : After thwarting a $118 billion takeover approach from Pfizer, Britain’s AstraZeneca will again take the spotlight this weekend when the biggest annual medical meeting for cancer doctors convenes in Chicago.
* British consumer sentiment hit its highest level in more than nine years this month, adding to signs that the economy is strengthening and raising questions about how much longer the Bank of England will keep interest rates on hold.
* Raising interest rates in small increments when the time comes could reduce the risk of the Bank of England making a mistake, Deputy Governor Charlie Bean said in an interview published on Thursday.
* House prices rose more slowly in May than in April across England and Wales, a survey showed, in another sign that Britain’s housing market may be starting to cool.
* LADBROKES : Shares in the betting shop group rose on Thursday, with the Daily Mail’s market report citing ongoing rumours of a private-equity consortium bid led by CVC Capital.
* IMI : Shares in the engineer rose on Thursday as talk did the rounds that its severe service division might appeal to Weir Group in the wake of the latter’s failure to buy Metso of Finland, the Financial Times’s market report said.
* FENNER : The maker of conveyor belts for the mining industry warned it might miss market expectations for full-year profit due to weakness in the U.S. coal sector and its failure to clinch an Australian iron ore contract.
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 Tricia Wright; Editing by Atul Prakash)