(Adds company news items and futures)
Feb 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 45 points lower at 7,139, on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers, while FTSE 100 futures were down 0.64 percent ahead of the cash market open. * ASTRAZENECA: British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc said on Tuesday its cancer drug being jointly developed with U.S.-based Merck & Co met the primary goal in a late-stage study for pancreatic cancer. * DRAX: British power producer Drax Group Plc reported a 9 percent rise in full-year core earnings on Tuesday, driven by higher levels of renewable power generation from its biomass units. * PERSIMMON: Britain’s Persimmon Plc, which is under scrutiny from the government for its practices under the “Help to Buy” scheme, on Tuesday named interim Chief Executive Officer Dave Jenkinson to the role on a permanent basis. * PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Britain’s competition watchdog said on Tuesday it had reasonable grounds for suspecting that a takeover by Non-Standard Finance Plc of Provident Financial Plc would result in the subprime lenders “ceasing to be distinct”. * RSA INSURANCE: British insurer RSA Insurance on Tuesday said it had hired Charlotte Jones as chief financial officer from asset management company Jupiter Fund Management * BABCOCK: Britain’s Babcock said it would take a one-off tax cost of around 10 million pounds ($13 million) and expects an ongoing cost of 10 million pounds per year to restructure its aerial fire-fighting business ahead of Brexit.
* LAURA ASHLEY: Investment firm Flacks Group said on Monday it was in the preliminary stages of evaluating a possible deal to buy Laura Ashley Holdings Plc, valuing the British fashion retailer at 20 million pounds ($26.16 million).
* ROLLS ROYCE: Britain’s government on Monday said it had awarded Rolls Royce a 235 million-pound ($307 million) contract to maintain nuclear submarines.
* Gold: Palladium hit a record high on Tuesday, surging above $1,550 as a threatened strike by South African mineworkers added to supply risk concerns in an already tight market, while gold prices edged up on a subdued dollar.
* OIL: Oil prices slipped on Tuesday, extending losses of more than 3 percent during the previous session, after U.S. President Donald Trump called on OPEC to ease its efforts to boost the market.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.07 percent up at 7183.74 on Monday, as banks got a boost from comments about a possible Brexit delay, while housebuilders were hit by reports the government was worried about Persimmon’s handling of a state house-funding scheme.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit http://topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : http://topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Adil Bhat in Bengaluru)