* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 16-18 points, or 0.3 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, rallying after falls in the previous session as Wall Street ended off its worst levels. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down 54.12 points, or 0.9 percent on Wednesday at 5,758.11, surrendering much of Tuesday's strong gain, with banks and energy stocks lower as investor caution grew ahead of Friday's April U.S. government payrolls report following a report that showed U.S. private employers added a fewer-than-expected 119,000 jobs last month.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND The part state-owned lender is set to announce on Friday that it will set aside a further 125 million pounds ($202.55 million) to cover compensation for mis-sold loan insurance, a person familiar with the matter said.
* BP The oil major won preliminary court approval of an estimated $7.8 billion settlement to resolve more than 100,000 claims by individuals and businesses stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
* RIO TINTO The global miner is reviewing its coal expansion plans as soaring capital and investor pressure to return more cash force it to reassess spending plans, the Australian Financial Review said on Thursday.
* BHP BILLITON The miner has moved to reassure investors fretting over its spending on "mega projects", promising discipline and potential non-core asset sales in one of the sector's clearest efforts to address market worries over the cost of growth.
* BAE SYSTEMS The defence firm came under attack from its own staff at the defence group's annual meeting on Wednesday as employees criticised plans to cut 900 manufacturing jobs in central England, the Guardian said.
* BSKYB The satellite broadcaster's chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, has insisted that the pay-TV giant is a "fit and proper" broadcaster despite a parliamentary committee ruling that its leading shareholder, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, had exhibited "wilful blindness" over phone-hacking, the Independent said.
* TRINITY MIRROR Leading shareholders in Trinity Mirror are pressing the board to make last-minute changes to its chief executive's 1.7 million pound pay package to head off a showdown at the publisher's AGM next week, the Financial Times said.
* Brent crude steadied above $118 a barrel on Thursday, reflecting caution among investors ahead of the U.S. employment report after disappointing data from the United States and from Europe renewed doubts about the state of the global economy.
* London copper prices steadied on Thursday, after posting their biggest daily drop in more than a week in the previous session as weak economic data from both sides of the Atlantic dented the outlook for demand.
* Britain's George Osborne accused fellow EU finance ministers of trying to water down Europe's bank capital rules and said this would make him "look like an idiot", as talks about a law to stop another financial crisis unravelled in Brussels.
* The European Central Bank will resist pressure to do more to fight the euro zone crisis when it meets in Barcelona on Thursday, holding fire despite calls to restart its bond-buying programme to shield austerity-hit Spain from further pain.
* Spain's borrowing costs are set to rise by more than a percentage point at an auction of three- and five-year bonds on Thursday, with markets watching for signs that its troubled banks are losing their appetite for the country's debt. The sale is the first since Standard and Poor's cut Spain's credit rating by two notches to BBB+ last week and follows data showing the economy has slid into its second recession since late 2009.
* Britain's economy faces a long and difficult recovery with substantial headwinds from the euro zone and high oil prices, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said on Thursday as it revised down its growth forecast for 2012.
* April's British Markit/CIPS services PMI will be released at 0828 GMT, with a reading of 54.2 forecast, down from 55.3 in March.
* April's U.S. Challenger Layoffs survey will be released at 1130 GMT, which together with U.S. weekly jobess claims numbers at 1230 GMT will provide pointers for Friday's key April U.S. non-farm payrolls report. April's U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index will be released at 1400 GMT.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
BG GROUP posts first-quarter results.
RANDGOLD RESOURCES posts first-quarter results.
DIAGEO issues a third-quarter trading update.
WM MORRISON SUPERMARKETS issues a first-quarter trading update.
SMITH & NEPHEW reports first-quarter results
RSA INSURANCE issues a first-quarter trading update.
LEGAL & GENERAL issues a first-quarter trading update.
SCHRODERS issues a first-quarter trading update.
REXAM issues a trading update.
ARM HOLDINGS holds its annual general meeting.
AVIVA holds its annual general meeting.
GKN holds its annual general meeting.
GLAXOSMITHKLINE holds its annual general meeting.
INMARSAT holds its annual general meeting.
ST. JAMES'S PLACE issues a first-quarter trading update.
MORGAN SINDALL issues a trading update.
MILLENNIUM & COPTHORNE HOTELS reveals first-quarter results.
REGUS issues a tarding update.
MONDI first-quarter results.
RPS GROUP first-quarter results.
SOPHEON first-quarter results.
WSP GROUP issues a first-quarter trading update.
AVOCET MINING unveils first-quarter results.
AGA RANGEMASTER holds its annual general meeting.
JAMES FISHER & SONS holds its annual general meeting.
JOHNSON SERVICE GROUP holds its annual general meeting.
LANCASHIRE HOLDINGS holds its annual general meeting.
PREMIER FOODS holds its annual general meeting.
ROBINSON holds its annual general meeting.
TIMEWEAVE holds its annual general meeting.
32RED holds its annual general meeting.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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