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Nov 6 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 17 points lower at 7,371 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.3% ahead of the cash market open.
* MARKS & SPENCER: M&S reported a 17% drop in first-half profit, dragged down by falling clothing sales, illustrating the bumpy path of its latest attempt at a turnaround after over a decade of false dawns.
* INTU PROPERTIES: UK mall operator said it expects lower rental income for the year as more stores closed down at its shopping malls amidst a broader weakness in the retail sector.
* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca said it is launching a new fund with China International Capital Corporation to invest $1 billion in China’s healthcare sector, as it expands its research work in the country. It will also distribute Sun Pharma cancer drugs in China.
* MOTHERCARE: Mothercare is set to close all its British stores with the loss of at least 2,500 jobs after its domestic operations buckled under the weight of the pressures plaguing the retail sector.
* SPIRIT MAKERS: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a phone call, urged U.S. President Donald Trump to lift tariffs on goods including scotch whisky, a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.
* GOLD: Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, after falling over 1% in the previous session, as investors took a step back from riskier assets in the absence of concrete developments on the U.S.-China trade front.
* OIL: Oil prices fell on Wednesday, pulled down by a larger-than-expected build-up in U.S. crude stocks, after gaining for three straight sessions on expectations of an easing of in U.S.-China trade tensions.
* The UK blue-chip index advanced 0.3% on Tuesday, as gains for oil majors and miners pushed it into the black, buoyed by hopes of a trade deal between the United States and China.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru)