LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 12 to 20 points higher, or up as much as 0.3 percent, on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* On Monday, the blue-chip FTSE index closed down 1.9 percent at 6,182.72 points, the lowest closing level since mid-2013. It fell 6.6 percent last week and is down more than 8 percent so far this year after surging 14 percent in 2013.
* Activity in China’s factory sector shrank in December for the first time in seven months as new orders declined, adding to expectations that more stimulus may be needed to avert a sharper economic slowdown. The flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in December from November’s final reading of 50.0.
* VODAFONE GROUP - The British mobile phone operator will get C$850 million ($726 million) in Canadian trade financing to help it buy enterprise services from BlackBerry Ltd, Ottawa said on Tuesday.
* BT - The company has entered exclusive talks with the owners of EE for a potential 12.5 billion-pound ($19.6 billion) acquisition deal to give the former UK state telecoms firm the top position in mobile as well as fixed line broadband services.
* Britain’s biggest lenders are waiting to find out if they have passed a new annual health check of their finances by the Bank of England (BoE), designed to avoid a repeat of the spate of bank bailouts which cost British taxpayers billions. The results of the first test will be published on Tuesday at 0700 GMT.
* STANDARD CHARTERED - The bank is selling its Hong Kong and Shenzhen consumer finance businesses to a consortium that includes a Chinese state firm, helping the emerging markets-focused lender to clinch its biggest asset disposal as part of a restructuring.
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