* Britain's FTSE 100 index is set to open 30 to 33 points higher, or as much as 0.6 percent, according to financial bookmakers, with investors' risk appetite seen rising after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting raised expectations that the central bank might launch another round of stimulus to help the struggling economy. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* London's blue chip index closed down 83.32 points, or 1.4 percent, at 5,774.20, on Wednesday as miners left Britain's top share index nursing sharp losses after BHP Billiton's results offered a bleak outlook for the sector, while other cyclical stocks were weaker as Greek and European officials met on the euro zone debt crisis.
* But UK stocks look set to rally, echoing gains overnight in the U.S. after minutes from the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting suggested the Fed was likely to deliver further monetary support "fairly soon", with policymakers staying quite categorical about their dissatisfaction with the present economic outlook.
* The Federal Reserve should do more to boost the United States economy as the most recent uptick in employment data is still not good enough, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans told a news briefing in China on Thursday.
* The dollar fell, while oil and metal prices rose on renewed hopes for another round of monetary stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve, helping investors look past weak manufacturing data from China.
* A fly in the ointment could be a knee-jerk reaction to a survey showing China's factories contracted in August the most in nine months, which would most affect miners, but the report also raised expectations that more policy action was probably needed to stop a slowdown in economic growth, now in a seventh quarter.
* There is no important macro economic data out in the UK on Thursday.
* In the United States weekly jobless claims data is due out at 1230 GMT with the figures expected to register a slight fall on the prior week.
U.S. monthly home price data is due out at 1400 GMT.
* BHP BILLITON : Moody's Investors Service said the reported fall in BHP Billiton's full-year earnings was credit negative, but had no impact on its A1/P-1 ratings and stable outlook.
BHP Billiton is making plans to double the first phase of production on its proposed Saskatchewan potash mine to 4 million tonnes, even as a decision on proceeding with the project is delayed, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
* ANGLO AMERICAN : World No.1 copper producer Codelco will pay under $1.8 billion for a stake in global miner Anglo American's south-central Chilean assets and the mining titans are set to end their bitter brawl on Thursday, sources said late on Wednesday.
* Miners: Australia declared the top of the resources boom, which had cushioned the country against the global financial crisis, a day after the world's biggest miner BHP Billiton shelved two major expansion plans worth at least $40 billion.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
KAZAKHMYS reveals first-half results.
PREMIER OIL issues first-half results.
IMI unveils first-half results.
DIAGEO announces full-year results
PETROPAVLOVSK reports first-half results.
SPORTECH reveals its first-half results.
SIG announces first-half results.
COSTAIN GROUP posts first-half results.
AEGIS GROUP reports first-half results.
AZ ELECTRONIC MATERIALS has a Q2 update.
DELCAM issues first-half results.
FORTUNE OIL reveals first-half results.
HGCAPITAL TRUST unveils first-half results.
HAYNES PUBLISHING registers firs-half results.
WH SMITH has a trading update.
SOPHEON reports its first-half results.
STV GROUP issues first-half results.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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