* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up as much as 73 points,
or 1.3 percent, on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, after the U.S.
Federal Reserve announced aggressive stimulus measures that are set to fuel the
market's sharp three-month rally. For more on the factors affecting European
stocks, please click on
* Britain's benchmark share index gained 37.84 points, or 0.7 percent to
5,819.92 points on Thursday, rising to a three-week high, boosted by
expectations of Fed stimulus, prospects of renewed merger and acquisition
activity and a brightening technical picture.
* The Federal Reserve said after the European close on Thursday it would
pump $40 billion into the U.S. economy each month until it saw a sustained
upturn in the weak jobs market.
The central bank's decision to tie its controversial bond buying directly to
economic conditions was an unprecedented step that marked a big escalation in
its efforts to drive U.S. unemployment lower. Stock prices jumped, while gold
hit a six-month high as investors braced for faster inflation.
* Miners are likely to be strong performers on expectations that the fresh
stimulus would boost demand for industrial metals. Copper prices rallied on
Friday, with benchmark London and Chinese contracts at the highest in up to five
* With no important macro economic data due out in Britain on Friday,
attention will turn to the United States where August inflation and retail sales
data are due out at 1230 GMT and consumer sentiment data is expected at 1355
The U.S. government's Consumer Price Index was expected to have climbed 0.5
percent last month on higher gasoline prices, after being flat in July,
according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 76 analysts. Prices are
seen rising 1.7 percent in the 12 months through August.
The effect on consumer spending might not show up right away and the report
on retail sales is expected to reveal sales climbed a solid 0.7 percent in
August, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
* Greece's finance minister on Thursday denied a report citing the country's
representative to the IMF as saying Athens would need a third bailout package.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : State-backed RBS confirmed it plans to
push ahead with a flotation of its Direct Line insurance division in what could
be the biggest listing on the London Stock Exchange for more than a year.
* BAE SYSTEMS : Even as it creates the world's biggest aerospace
company, the proposed merger of Europe's defense and aviation giants may help
U.S. rivals win defense contracts, at least in the short-term, experts said
* LONMIN : The miner said on Thursday it had made an offer to
striking workers at its South African operations, after four weeks of widening
labour unrest that has threatened mining output in Africa's biggest economy.
* SAINSBURY : The supermarket group rose on Thursday as renewed bid
talk did the rounds with speculation growing the Qataris may be mulling a
proposal of between 450-500 pence a share for the group, according to the Daily
Express market report.
* ESSAR ENERGY : An Indian court ruling has cut the tax bill of a
subsidiary of London-listed Essar Energy ESSR.L by $327 million, in a
development that the company said drew a line under its tax problems.
* UNITE GROUP : The real estate firm says it will extend its
partnership with GIC, the real estate arm of the Government of Singapore
Investment Corporation, a move it hopes will grow earnings as it targets a 1
billion pounds London portfolio.
* JD WETHERSPOON'S : The pubs and bars owner reported a rise in
full-year profit, helped by the London Olympics, as PBT rose 5.8 percent to 72.4
million pounds with revenue up 9.3 percent.
* CHEMRING : Carlyle's bid for the defence equipment maker will go
into extra time after the company's request to extended the deadline until 5:00
p.m. on Oct. 12 was granted.
* DOMINO PRINTING : The firm said it sees full-year sales steady and
the rate of gross profit margin remained stable and in line with that reported
in interim results, despite fragile market conditions.
* TIMEWAVE : The company, which has a stake in a television channel
that broadcasts horse racing to betting shops, said it considered an offer from
Mayfair and concluded it is not in the interests of shareholders to accept it.
* CUPID : The online dating firm says it has acquired uniform for 7
million pounds and a placing of 3.6 million shares.
* SONGBIRD ESTATES : The real estate company reports a 4.6 percent
rise in its net asset value to 1.7 billion pounds at June 30.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Writing by David Brett, editing by Nigel Stephenson)