LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up between 2-4 points, or as much as 0.1 percent higher on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Britain's blue-chip stocks hit their highest level since May 2008 on Wednesday, closing 45.02 points higher on Wednesday at 6,098.65, having hit a high of 6,112.27 in afternoon trade as global markets responded well to Alcoa's encouraging first report of the earnings season.
* Exports out of China grew 3-1/2 times faster than expected last month, flagging a cautious economic improvement globally.
* MINERS: Iron ore imports in China, the world's top buyer, hit a record high in December, likely offering relief to international mining companies.
* Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are expected to leave policy unchanged at the end of their monthly meetings on Thursday, though rumours that the BoE might ease policy to help a weak domestic economy helped sterling to one-month lows against the dollar on Wednesday.
* VODAFONE: The CEO of Verizon Communications said that the group was not in talks with Vodafone Group about taking full ownership of their Verizon Wireless venture, despite market speculation this week that such a deal could happen.
* MARKS & SPENCER: The British retailer reported a bigger-than-expected drop in non-food sales in the Christmas, with sales of clothing, footwear and homewares slumping 3.8 percent in the 13 weeks to Dec. 29.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY: TESCO issues a trading update. HAYS issues a fourth-quarter trading update. RATHBONE BROTHERS issues a trading update.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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