* Britain's FTSE 100 index is set to open 6 to 7 points lower, or as much as 0.1 percent, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The index scaled three-week highs on Thursday, closing up 1.2 percent, or 67.02 points, at 5,870.30, cheered by promises of spending cuts at miner Rio Tinto and by growing hopes of achieving a U.S. budget deal to avoid recession in the world's biggest economy.
* London copper edged up on Friday, bracing to finish the month higher on signs that a recovery in China's economic growth took root in November, although worries over Europe and the United States kept gains constrained.
* There is no important economic data out of the UK on Friday, while in the U.S. focus will rest on consumer spending figures due out at 1330 GMT and Chicago PMIs at 1445 GMT, as investors try to gauge the health of the world's largest economy.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Royal Bank of Scotland could be forced to explore the sale of businesses considered "core" to its operations after the Bank of England increased the pressure on lenders to raise new capital, writes the Telegraph.
BARCLAYS BANK - The UK lender said on Thursday it was prepared to fight a proposed $470 million fine for alleged manipulation of the electricity market.
BRITISH LAND : The real estate investor announced that Aramco, a UK affiliate of the Saudi Arabian oil company, has agreed to let 24,392 sq ft of office space at its new West End development at 10 Portman Square.
SPORTINGBET : The betting firm says it expects full-year results to meet expectations as November has seen a return to normal trading levels, with a particularly strong Australian sports margin.
HARVEY NASH : The staffing firm upgrades profit forecast, which is now likely to be r oughly 10 percent higher than its expectations.
FASTJET : Africa's first low-cost airline says demand on Tanzania routes outstripping supply and it is considering adding more flights.
THEO FENNEL : The luxury jewellery designer says EME Capital offer deadline extended to Jan 11. The company says it remains in offer discussions with EME but t here is n o certainty an of fer will be made.
CSR : The chip maker says tender offer fully subscribed with $285 million successfully returned to shareholders 49.08 million ordinary shares to be repurchased at 360 pence per ordinary.
DEHRA PHARMACEUTICALS : The company made a $15 million contingent payment triggered by the rolling 12 monthly revenue from the sale of DermaPet products exceeding US$15 million in October 2012.
STHREE : The recruiter said it sees full-year profit in line with market estimates a t 25 million pounds, while Gary Elden is to succeed Russell Clements as CEO with effect from 1 January 2013.
HYDRODEC GROUP : The cleantech industrial oil re-refining group said i t has signed a non-binding heads of terms to establish a potential Joint Venture with an industry participant in North America.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Written by David Brett)