LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 6 to 8 points, or as much as 0.1 percent lower, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* December futures on the index were down 0.3 percent by 0625 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index sank to its lowest closing level in nearly six months on Wednesday, ending the session down 65.20 points, or 1 percent, at 6,557.52 points, as a new slump in the shares of supermarket retailers hit the market.
* Later on Thursday, the European Central Bank will unveil a new asset-buying plan which it hopes will prop up inflation and revive the economy in the euro zone - Britain’s biggest trading partner.
The ECB plans to buy asset-backed securities - packages of reparcelled loans - with a view to spurring the market for such credit and supporting lending to the small- and mid-sized firms that form the backbone of the euro zone economy.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : Both GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are working to boost their capacity to make Ebola vaccines, with a goal of a “very significant increase in scale during the first half of 2015”, the World Health Organization said.
* ARM HOLDINGS : Chip designer ARM Holdings said it was introducing software to make the proliferating number of Internet-connected devices many consumers surround themselves with more manageable and secure.
* BHP BILLITON : BHP Billiton agreed to a two-year contract to buy nickel ore from Poseidon Nickel Ltd to feed its Nickel West operations in Australia.
The step indicates that BHP plans to keep running the loss-making division as it looks to sell it.
* VIRGIN MONEY: The British challenger bank founded and partly owned by entrepreneur Richard Branson said it plans to raise 150 million pounds (243.20 million US dollar) from a stock market listing in London.
* TUI TRAVEL : The British tour operator said it would deliver full-year underlying operating profit growth of at least 9 percent, in line with its target, after selling at higher-than-average prices over the summer 2014 trading period.
OPHIR ENERGY, BG GROUP : Oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy said it had discovered gas at the Kamba-1 well in Tanzania together with its partner BG Group, adding to recent gas finds in the east African country’s offshore waters.
* AFREN : The oil and gas producer said it expected drilling and production at its Barda Rash field in Kurdistan to be fully resumed by end-October as the security situation had improved at the border of Iraqi Kurdistan.
* BALFOUR BEATTY : The infrastructure firm said it would dispose of its 50 percent stake in a public-private partnership for 61.5 million pounds.
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1 US dollar = 0.6168 British pound Reporting by Tricia Wright, editing by Blaise Robinson