* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 10-11 points, or 0.2
percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, as investors await
monetary policy decisions from the European Central Bank as well as the Bank of
England later in the day. For more on the factors affecting European stocks,
please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 77.54 points, or 1.4 percent higher on
Wednesday at 5,712.82, its highest closing level since ending at 5,714.19 points
on July 19.
* U.S. stocks slipped on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average
off 0.3 percent, impacted by a trading glitch and after the Fed stopped
short of offering new monetary stimulus, even as it signalled more strongly that
further bond buying could be in store.
* ECB President Mario Draghi faces intense pressure from investors, European
leaders and even the United States to deliver on last week's pledge to do
whatever it takes to save the euro when the bank meets.
* The Bank of England looks set to stick to its current stimulus plan for
Britain's ailing economy on Thursday, with policymakers anxious to assess the
impact of other recent actions.
* Ahead of the Bank of England rate decision, the Markit/CIPS construction
sector PMIs for July will be unveiled at 0830 GMT, giving further clues as to
the health of the British economy.
* Across the Atlantic ahead of Friday's key U.S. August jobs report, July
Challenger layoffs will be released at 1130 GMT and the latest weekly jobless
claims are due at 1230 GMT. Aside from that data, July's ISM New York survey,
June factory orders, and June revised durable goods order numbers will be
released at 1400 GMT.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Senior British government figures are
discussing the possibility of buying out private investors in RBS, the Financial
Times reported on Thursday.
* RSA - Britain's biggest commercial insurer, said its first-half
profit fell by almost a quarter after heavy flooding in Britain and earthquakes
in Italy triggered a surge of claims.
* BAE SYSTEMS - The defence contractor posted a 3 percent fall in
first- h alf profit, hit by a delay in the completion of a key deal with Saudi
Arabia as well as lower spending by European and American military.
* SMITH & NEPHEW - Europe's leading maker of artificial hips and
knees hiked its half-year dividend by 50 percent on Thursday as profit margins
grew and its confidence in the future improved, despite challenging markets.
* SCHRODERS - The blue - chip investment manager reported strong
inflows in the first half of the year against a backdrop of deepening market
uncertainty which saw profit tumble 17 percent compared to a year earlier.
* AGGREKO - The temporary power supplier posted a 23 percent
underlying rise in first-half trading profit to 159 million pounds, with group
revenue up an underlying 16 percent to 74 million pounds, and continues to
believe the firm will deliver another year of good growth in 2012.
* BSKYB - The Competition Commission said the satellite
broadcaster's position in movies does not adversely affect competition in the
pay-tv r etail market
* LADBROKES - The bookmaker posted a 48.9 percent rise in first-half
pretax profit to 106.9 million pounds and said it is comfortable that its
performance is in line with expectations for the full y e ar, with digital
development the prime focus in the second ha l f.
* MILLENNIUM & COPTHORNE - The hotels operator posted first-half
profit before tax of 79.0 million pounds, on revenue of 373.9 million pounds,
and said overall revenue per available room, in constant currency terms, rose by
5.2 percent in the first ha l f.
* TRINITY MIRROR - The newspaper publisher posted an 11.5 percent
rise in first-half operating profit to 52.5 million pounds, and said strong
operational management will deliver an outcome for 2012 ahead of current
expectations although the trading environment is expected to remain difficult.
* MATCHTECH GROUP - The staffing group said its full-year outcome is
expected to be at lower end of view because of lower- t han- e xpected permanent
fees in the fourth q u arter.
* PORTMEIRION GROUP - The pottery manufacturer reported a 6 percent
rise in first-half profit before tax to 1.5 million pounds, on revenues up 2
percent to 22.8 million pounds.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Jon Hopkins; Editing by Stephen Nisbet)