LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 2 to 6 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 1.1 percent higher at 6,750.76 points on Friday. It rose for a fifth straight week, after a surprise interest rate cut in China boosted mining and commodities stocks.
* China’s leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions, concerned that falling prices could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making.
* AVIVA, FRIENDS LIFE - British insurer Aviva said on Friday it had agreed terms on a possible deal to buy rival Friends Life for 5.6 billion pounds ($8.8 billion) as British pension reforms put pressure on insurance companies to find new business.
* Friends Life said it had suspended a previously announced buyback programme until an agreement on other terms and conditions of any Aviva offer.
* BHP BILLITON - The global miner stepped up its cost-cutting plans on Monday as the world’s biggest miner battles a sharp slide in iron ore, coal and oil prices, and said the unloved assets it is spinning off are still making money despite the rout.
* BHP is laying the groundwork for a dramatic rise in copper production in a drive to buffer its exposure to sagging iron ore, oil and coal markets.
* PETROFAC - The company said it was on track to deliver full year 2014 net profit towards lower end of $580 million to $600 million range provided in the previous guidance.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Italy’s retail bank Intesa SanPaolo is looking at a possible bid for Coutts International, the wealth management arm of Royal Bank of Scotland, the Financial Times reported.
* Royal Bank of Scotland is facing its first UK lawsuit over its role in the Libor-rigging scandal as part of a 30 million pound (46.95 million US dollar) claim from a Manchester-based property developer, The Times newspaper reported.
* ASTRAZENECA - The drugmaker said it Duaklir Genuair has been approved in European Union for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
* Britain’s biggest telecoms service providers have filed a complaint to media regulator Ofcom demanding greater competition in the business broadband market, where they say BT has an effective monopoly.
* London metal prices eased on Monday, paring previous session’s gains that were sparked by China’s first rate cut in two years, as the prospect of sputtering growth in the world’s top metals consumer dimmed the outlook for demand.
* Oil markets were steady in early Asian trading on Monday, with benchmark Brent crude prices remaining above $80 a barrel following a rally late on Friday over China’s interest rate cut and ahead of a possible output reduction by producer group OPEC.
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