LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 17 to 20 points higher, or up as much as 0.3 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 1.3 percent higher at 6,742.10 points in the previous session.
* Britain’s finance minister George Osborne looks set to concede on Wednesday that his push to fix the public finances has suffered another setback thanks to slow pay growth, six months before voters head to the polls.
* SAGE - The computer software firm said it was on track to accelerate growth in 2015 after it posted a 5 percent rise in revenue and 8 percent rise in earnings in the first set of results presented by new Chief Executive Stephen Kelly.
* The British Retail Consortium said food prices dropped last month for the first time since it started collecting data in December 2006, as a supermarket price war intensified.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP - The bank has sold a 1.6-billion-pound ($2.50 billion) portfolio of Irish mortgages to Goldman Sachs and CarVal, a private equity group, the Financial Times newspaper reported.
* RIO TINTO, BHP BILLITON - Rio Tinto expects to remain the lowest-cost iron ore supplier to China and therefore to be least affected by a slump in prices of the material, a senior executive said, dismissing rival BHP Billiton’s threat to displace it in the ranking.
* BREWIN DOLPHIN - The British wealth manager posted a fall in full-year pretax profit of 70 percent to 8.6 million pounds ($13.5 million), hit by one-off costs including that from a failed roll-out of new software.
* Oil rose more than 1 percent, with Brent climbing above $71 a barrel, recovering slightly from losses in the prior session as a turbulent market struggled to find a price floor.
* London copper edged lower on Wednesday as ongoing credit difficulties in top consumer China has checked bargain hunting even though prices dropped to 4-1/2-year lows earlier this week.
* On the macro economic front, investors await UK services PMI data, scheduled to be released at 0930 GMT.
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 Atul Prakash; editing by Blaise Robinson)