(Adds company news items and futures)
Nov 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 31 points lower at 7,231 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down almost 0.4% ahead of cash markets open.
* INVESTEC: Anglo-South African financial services firm Investec said on Thursday its first-half profit fell 17.2% after a weak performance in UK specialist banking.
* ROYAL MAIL: Royal Mail, one of the world’s oldest postal services, on Thursday posted an operating profit in the first half compared with a loss last year, benefiting from higher parcel volumes as its turnaround plan progresses.
* CMC MARKETS: British online trading firm CMC Markets Plc on Thursday posted a jump in first-half net operating income and lifted its full-year target, as traders adapted to changes after a regulatory crackdown on high-risk bets.
* BRITISH AIRWAYS: Some British Airways flights were delayed by a technical issue on Thursday, the airline said, in the latest setback for the British flag-carrier.
* WILLIAM HILL: British bookmaker William Hill on Thursday reported a slight rise in revenue for the 17-week period since its first-half results, benefiting from more demand for online gambling and its aggressive expansion in the United States.
* CENTRICA: Centrica remains on track to meet its full-year cash flow and earnings targets and has raised its expected efficiency savings by 50 million pounds ($64.61 million), the British utility said on Thursday.
* MITIE: British outsourcer Mitie Group Plc reported a rise in first-half profit on Thursday, but warned that Brexit and the upcoming election could reduce capital commitments by its clients and change their approach to outsourcing decisions.
* OIL: Oil prices retreated on Thursday after gaining more than 2% in the previous session on bullish U.S. crude inventory data, as a fresh spat over Hong Kong fuelled concerns of a further delay in any U.S.-China trade deal.
* GOLD: Gold prices inched up on Thursday, supported by concerns that U.S. bills on Hong Kong could increase tensions between the United States and China and delay an interim trade deal.
* EX-DIVS: Carnival , DCC, Imperial Brands and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 3.3 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip index lost 0.8% on Wednesday after three sessions of gains as flaring tensions between China and the United States cast doubt over prospects of a trade deal and retailer Kingfisher slumped 7% following disappointing quarterly sales.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru)