(Adds company news items and futures)
Oct 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 8 points lower at 7,253 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with down 0.07% ahead of cash market open.
* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca Plc raised its annual product sales forecast for the second time this year, as it profited from strong demand for new cancer treatments Tagrisso and Lynparza as well as 40% growth in China.
* SSE: The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was looking into whether OVO Energy’s 500 million pound ($646.00 million) deal to buy power company SSE Plc’s retail arm will lessen competition in the United Kingdom.
* Coca-Cola European Partners said it had a slower-than-expected start to its fourth quarter due to weakening demand in France and Britain as well as unfavourable weather in October in most markets.
* WOODFORD PATIENT CAPITAL TRUST: The board of Woodford Patient Capital Trust Plc said it has appointed asset manager Schroders SDR.L as its new portfolio manager, following Neil Woodford’s abrupt exit last week.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND: Royal Bank of Scotland said it had swung to a third-quarter loss, after making a fresh 900 million pound ($1.16 billion) provision to settle mis-selling claims in Britain’s biggest consumer banking scandal.
* GOLD: Gold held ground above $1,490 per ounce as investors awaited clarity on Brexit after the European Union delayed a decision on granting an extension to Britain, and the U.S. central bank policy meeting for clues on the interest rate trajectory.
* OIL: Oil prices dipped after sharp gains in the previous session following a surprise draw in U.S. crude inventories, with concerns over a weak demand outlook adding to downward pressure.
* EX-DIVS: Ferguson, ITV will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 1.4 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.7% higher on Wednesday as oil majors tracked gains in crude prices and miners benefited from a rise in nickel and copper prices.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)