(Adds company news items and futures)
May 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 33 points lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers with futures down 0.6% ahead of cash markets open.
* SHELL: Shell has evacuated its foreign staff, numbering around 60, from Iraq’s Basra Gas Co and flew them out of Iraq on Wednesday, two Basra Gas executives told Reuters.
* EASYJET: British low-cost airline easyJet said it would restart a small number of flights on June 15, becoming the latest airline to plan for the return of European travel by making face masks mandatory onboard.
* AVIVA: British insurer Aviva posted a sharp rise in first-quarter new sales in its life business on Thursday, boosted by bulk annuities, but estimated 160 million pounds ($195.1 million) in claims related to the coronavirus pandemic.
* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca Plc said on Thursday it had received the first agreements to supply at least 400 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford.
* BOE: Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said he was less opposed to negative interest rates than before the coronavirus crisis escalated, but that there were “mixed reviews” about how well they had worked for other central banks.
* METALS: Copper prices rose, with London copper hitting a more than two-month high, as hopes of a swift recovery in the global economy pushed equities higher and boosted risk sentiment.
* GOLD: Gold fell, pressured by hopes of a swift recovery from the coronavirus-driven recession although losses were capped by prospects of more stimulus and bleak data.
* OIL: Oil prices advanced as a drawdown of U.S. crude inventories and output cuts by major producers helped ease concerns about a supply glut, though lingering fears over the global economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic capped gains.
* London’s FTSE 100 index rose on Wednesday, rebounding from an early fall partly thanks to solid quarterly results from data firm Experian, while investors remained hopeful of a recovery after the looming new coronavirus-induced recession.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru)