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LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The blue-chip index closed 0.5 percent higher at 6,809.50 points in the previous session, after a 1.7 percent slide on Tuesday that trimmed its first quarter gains to 3.2 percent.
* MARKS & SPENCER - The British retailer posted its best non-food sales performance for nearly four years as it started to put its online distribution problems behind it.
* DIAGEO - The world’s largest spirits maker said it had agreed to acquire control of United National Breweries beer business in South Africa, buying the remaining 50 percent stake it did not already own.
* HSBC - The bank is making progress toward cleaning up its operations, after reaching a $1.92 billion settlement of charges related to money laundering, but has not done enough, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday.
* BP - The oil major will cease production at its 102,000 barrels per day Bulwer Island refinery in Brisbane in May, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - Shell has finished upgrading its Singapore ethylene cracker complex at its integrated refining-chemicals site, boosting production of ethylene by 20 percent, the company said on Thursday.
* TATE & LYLE - The company said a project to evaluate how best to maximise returns from its Splenda sucralose was reaching conclusion and would be finalised with the board this month.
* PREMIER OIL - The company said it discovered oil and gas at a well in the Falkland Islands. Premier, which owns 36 percent of the well, discovered 81 feet of net-oil bearing reservoir and 55 feet of net gas-bearing reservoir from the Zebedee well.
* PLAYTECH - The online gaming technology company said it would buy a majority stake in TradeFX Ltd, a provider of trading platform and payment services, for an initial cash payment of 208 million euros ($224.4 million).
* ROCKHOPPER - The oil and gas exploration and production company with interests in the North Falkland Basin and the Greater Mediterranean region said that all seven of the reservoir targets predicted across the Cretaceous F1-F3 intervals were encountered.
* Oil prices fell on Thursday as attention returned to nuclear talks with Iran, with the prospects for a deal and an increase in Iranian crude exports helping to keep pressure on prices.
* London copper drifted towards two-week lows on Thursday as traders showed little urgency to lock-in stocks given sluggish demand growth in top consumer China, instead squaring positions ahead of a four-day Easter weekend in some countries.
* The UK stock market will be closed on Friday and Monday for a public holiday.
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)