LONDON Aug 23 (Reuters) - * 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
* 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.
* KAZAKHMYS : Copper miner Kazakhmys < KAZ.L > saw headline profit more
than halve in the first six months of the year, as it was hit by rising costs,
falling metal prices and the impact of a build up of inventory due to Chinese
* PETROPAVLOVSK : Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk said on
Thursday its first half net profit fell 90 percent, year-on-year, to $11 million
due to higher interest expenses, but forecast its profitability to improve in
the second half of the year.
* NEW WORLD RESOURCES : The miner slightly raised its 2012 coal
production target on Thursday after posting second-quarter net profit of 28.3
million euros ($35.28 million), above estimates but sharply down from last year.
* 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.
*IMI : The engineer reported a 4 percent rise in first-half profit on
revenue up 6 percent and raised its interim dividend 7 percent to 11.8 pence,
but said the pace of revenue growth is likely to slow in the second half.
PREMIER OIL : The oil producer announced oil production rose 58
during the first-half as profits hit a record $194.6 million before tax and said
full-year production is estimated to be 60,000 boepd.
* DIAGEO : The world's biggest spirits group, posted a 13 percent
rise in full-year profit, helped by its exposure to fast growing emerging
markets, and putting it on track to meet its medium-term targets.
* SKYEPHARMA < SKP.L > : UK MHRA has granted marketing authorisation for the
drug firm's F lutiform, a combination product for the treatment of asthma. UK
launch of Flutiform is expected to take place later this year.
* PREMIER FOODS : The food producer agreed to sell its sweet spreads
and jellies business to the hain celestial group for a consideration of 200
million pounds subject to approval by premier foods' shareholders.
* SPORTECH : The operator and supplier of pools and tote betting
services said trading remains in line with management expectations for the full
year as it reported flat first-half adjusted profit before tax of 7.4 million
* SIG : The the British building materials company reported a 1.4
percent rise in profit in contnuing operation on flat sales in the first-half.
* AZ Electronic Materials : Profit fell 4 percent in the first
half, hurt by lower revenue at its integrated circuits materials division and
increased investment in research and development.
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