(Adds futures, news items)
May 6(Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening higher on Wednesday, with futures up 0.08% ahead of cash market open.
* ITV: ITV, Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, said COVID-19 had sent its advertising revenue down 42% last month, and an uncertain outlook meant it could not give guidance for the rest of the year.
* ASTRAZENECA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca Plc’s AZN.L diabetes drug to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalisation for heart failure in certain patients, the drugmaker said.
* DIRECT LINE: Direct Line Insurance Group Plc reported a 70% drop in motor insurance claims for April, as people stayed at home and drove less due to a nationwide lockdown in the UK to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
* VIRGIN MONEY: Virgin Money swung to a first-half loss after setting aside 237 million pounds ($294.7 million) to handle loans likely to turn sour as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
* JD SPORTS: Britain’s competition watchdog made good on its threat to block sportswear retailer JD Sports’ takeover of smaller rival Footasylum, saying it would leave shoppers worse off and requiring JD to sell the chain.
* OCADO: British online supermarket and technology company Ocado said retail revenue soared 40.4% year-on-year in its second quarter so far as shoppers in coronavirus lockdown sought deliveries to avoid venturing out.
* METRO BANK: Britain’s Metro Bank reported a modest dip in lending in the first quarter and a 77 million pounds rise in total deposits to 14.6 billion pounds ($18.15 billion) as customers shrugged off lower fixed term deposit rates.
* NATIONAL EXPRESS: British transport firm National Express Group said it plans to raise equity of around 20% of its issued capital to shore up its balance sheet as it secured debt waivers through 2020 to help its business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
* HAMMERSON: Hammerson said private-equity firm Orion was not planning to buy the British shopping centre operator’s seven retail parks.
* SMITH+NEPHEW: British medical products maker Smith+Nephew said sales in April nearly halved as more patients postponed elective surgeries, such as hip replacements, due to coronavirus-driven lockdowns.
* RETAIL PRICE INDEX: Britain’s statistics office said coronavirus-related changes to the way it calculates the Retail Price Index, which underpins payments on the country’s inflation-linked government bonds, will not require government approval.
* TRADE TALKS: The United States and Britain launched formal negotiations on a free trade agreement on Tuesday, vowing to work quickly to seal a deal that could counter the massive drag of the coronavirus pandemic on trade flows and the two allies’ economies.
* HSBC: HSBC Holdings has filed an application to the Singapore High Court to place Zenrock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd under judicial management, three people familiar with the matter said.
* OIL: Oil prices fell, ending a multi-day streak of gains, as investors focused on oversupply risks after U.S. crude inventories rose more than expected amid a slump in demand caused by restrictions to halt the coronavirus spread.
* GOLD: Gold prices slipped as the gradual easing of some coronavirus-led restrictions by several nations raised prospects of more global economic activity, denting demand for the safe-haven metal.
* METALS: London copper prices rose to their highest in nearly a week on Wednesday, amid hopes of better demand as countries start to ease coronavirus-induced restrictions.
* A surge in big oil companies boosted Britain’s FTSE 100 on Tuesday, with investors counting on a revival in economic activity as several countries emerged from coronavirus lockdowns.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)