LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 54 to 67 points higher, or up 1.1 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index finished 0.1 percent higher at 6,336.48 points on Wednesday after hitting an intra-day low of 6,240.32 points.
* BARCLAYS - The 500 million pounds ($783.70 million) Barclays set aside to settle allegations of rigging the foreign exchange market will not be enough, the bank’s Chief Executive Antony Jenkins said in an interview to Sky News.
* BT GROUP - BT is preparing a giant financing package including a 2 billion pounds rights issue to help fund its planned takeover of EE, the mobile operator, The Telegraph reported. (bit.ly/1wMkhZS)
* Britain’s mobile phone network operators have agreed to spend 5 billion pounds ($8 billion) improving basic service coverage in rural areas where consumers cannot get a strong signal, in response to a government pledge to tackle the problem.
* SHIRE - Shire, whose proposed sale to AbbVie Inc fell apart in October, is considering an offer for U.S-based drug developer NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
* ROYAL MAIL - Shares in Britain’s Royal Mail postal service should have been sold at a higher price when the firm was privatised last year, but the lost revenue was lower than previous estimates, a government-commissioned report said on Thursday.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - The company said on Thursday it had completed the acquisition of the 164 million pounds Thanet offshore transmission project in Britain.
* ASTRAZENECA - The drugs firm said on Thursday its Lynparza capsules were approved in the European Union as first-in-class treatment for advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer.
* SISTEMA - Russian-listed shares in business conglomerate Sistema surged around 35 percent in early trading on Thursday after the company’s chairman was freed from house arrest after the market closed on Wednesday.
* UNITED UTILITIES - The company’s shares are set to go ex-dividend on Thursday, shaving 0.34 points off the FTSE 100.
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 Francesco Canepa; editing by Blaise Robinson)