LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - * Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen
opening 20 to 21 points higher, or 0.4 percent up, with financial bookmakers
expecting a rise in Chinese manufacturing data to boost equity markets. For more
on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down by 0.1 percent, or 3.48 points lower,
at 5,866.82 points on Friday.
* London copper was steady on Monday, sitting near its highest level in more
than five weeks hit in the previous session, after promising manufacturing data
from top consumer China, but worries over U.S. fiscal woes kept a lid on prices.
* Brent crude rose toward $112 per barrel on Monday on signs of reviving
economic growth in China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, and supply
concerns triggered by tension in the Middle East.
* British finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday he would stick with
his deficit-reduction programme when he presents a half-yearly fiscal statement
* Britain aims to raise more than 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) a year
over the next two years by tackling tax avoidance by multinational companies and
rich individuals with offshore accounts, the country's finance ministry said on
* On the macroeconomic front, November Markit/CIPS PMI data is due to be
published. The reading is expected to edge up to 48.0 points from 47.5,
according to a Reuters poll..
* CABLE & WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS : Bahrain Telecommunications Co
(Batelco) has reached an agreement with Cable & Wireless
Communications to buy the British telecommunication group's assets in Monaco and
a host of island nations, in a deal potentially worth up to $1 billion.
* BALFOUR BEATTY : The British infrastructure group reported that it
would continue to allocate capital to its professional services division, and
was confident of achieving a 6-7 percent margin target for that unit by 2015.
* BP : BP will outline growth plans for its oil and gas production arm
on Monday in its first strategy update since striking a series of deals aimed at
getting its Russian and U.S. operations back on track.
* PARAGON : The British mortgage specialist said it was in the early
stages of considering the acquisition of Hampshire Trust.
* GEM DIAMONDS : The diamond mining group said it was planning to
sell the Ellendale diamond mine and would sell to Goodrich 100 percent of the
shares in Gem Diamonds Australia Holdings for A$14.3 million.
* ST MODWEN PROPERTIES : The property group said its expectations for
the full year remain unchanged.
* POLYMETAL INTL : The mining company announced a significant
mineral resource expansion at its Albazino site.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : It will take a decade to fully return
Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L to the private sector, the state-owned lender has
predicted, according to the UK's Times newspaper on Monday.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare APNJ.J said on
Monday it has finalised the acquisition of medicines from GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L
for 163.8 million pounds ($263 million).
* VIRGIN ATLANTIC: Delta Air Lines, America's largest airline, is plotting
to take control of Virgin Atlantic after making a secret approach to the British
carrier's Asian shareholder, Britain's Sunday Times reported.
* CENTRICA : The Daily Express reported on Monday that the utility
group is set to consider returning up to 500 million pounds to shareholders if
it pulls out of a nuclear power scheme.
* EVOCUTIS : The healthcare group said it had appointed consultants
to assist it in reviewing strategic options for the company..
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)