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June 10 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 18 points higher at 6,353 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.05% ahead of cash market open.
* RESTAURANT GROUP: Restaurant Group Plc said on Wednesday it would shut 125 of its underperforming sites through a company voluntary arrangement for its leisure estate, mainly affecting its Frankie and Benny’s chain and leaving it with about 160 restaurants.
* PARAGON BANKING: Paragon Banking Group on Wednesday posted a 28% slump in half-year underlying profit, as it booked a 27.7 million pound charge due to the COVID-19 pandemic and set aside millions more to cover expected loan losses because of the crisis.
* QUIZ: British fashion retailer Quiz said on Wednesday it would place its stores unit into administration and then buy the business back so it can try to renegotiate better rental terms.
* SEGRO: Segro Plc said on Wednesday that strong demand from investors has led the warehousing specialist to increase the size of its share sale to 680 million pounds, aimed at funding expansion plans amid the coronavirus crisis.
* DRAX: Britain’s largest union said on Tuesday it would hold a ballot for industrial action later this month over the closure of two coal-fired generation units at Drax Group’s Selby power plant in north Yorkshire.
* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca on Tuesday received $23.7 million in funding from a U.S. government agency to advance the development of antibody-based COVID-19 treatments as the British drugmaker ramps up efforts beyond its potential vaccine to combat the pandemic.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has started a trial in the United States to test an experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug on patients suffering from pneumonia caused by COVID-19, the British drugmaker said on Tuesday.
* SHELL: Oil company Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Tuesday it had resumed activities at its Bajada de Añelo block in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta area after seismic activity in the region led to a halt late last week.
* VODAFONE: Thousands of British customers of Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s second-biggest mobile operator, faced call connection problems on Tuesday evening, although they were resolved within an hour.
* GOLD: Gold extended gains on Wednesday as global equity markets eased after a recent rally, while U.S. Treasury yields dropped ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s meeting that is expected to shed light on the state of the economy and further stimulus.
* OIL: Oil prices fell on Wednesday after data showed a rise in crude and fuel stockpiles in the United States, reviving concerns about oversupply and falling fuel demand in the world’s largest crude consumer amid the coronavirus outbreak.
* The UK blue-chip index closed 2.1% lower on Tuesday, weighed down by forecast cuts from British American Tobacco, while HSBC dropped after a leading shareholder said it was uneasy over the company’s decision to back a new security law in Hong Kong.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V, Aditya Soni)