UPDATE 1-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on April 3

Thu Apr 3, 2014 2:30am EDT

Related Topics

(Adds futures, company news)

LONDON, April 3 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening slightly higher on Thursday, with June futures for the index up 0.2 percent by 0625 GMT. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on

* The UK blue chip index closed up 6.43 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,659.04 points on Wednesday, its highest close since March 11, propped up by cyclical banks and mining companies on encouraging economic news in the United States.

* Euro zone monetary policy will fall under the spotlight as the European Central Bank holds its regular meeting.

The ECB looks set to keep interest rates steady and offer no new aid to the euro zone's fragile recovery despite a fall in inflation to its lowest in more than four years.

* Activity in China's services industry rose to a four-month high in March, a private survey showed, even as persistent weakness in manufacturing has reinforced fears of a sharper-than-expected economic slowdown.

* Activity in Britain's housing market is still much weaker than would be expected in a fully functioning market, according to a Bank of England policymaker who played down fears of a housing bubble.

* VODAFONE GROUP : The mobile operator said it would add 150 shops and create 1,400 jobs across the United Kingdom during the next 12 months in a 100 million pound ($166.3 million) investment.

* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : Part-nationalised RBS said it will close 44 branches, of which 14 are classed as "Last Banks in Town", in the UK and Scotland.

* SPORTS DIRECT : The sporting goods retailer has scrapped plans for a shareholder vote on a share bonus scheme worth 73 million pounds for its founder Mike Ashley after failing to secure enough support.

* KINGFISHER : Europe's No. 1 home improvement retailer has entered into exclusive negotiations with the main investors of French rival Mr Bricolage to buy their shareholdings.

* BRITISH LAND : The landlord has signed a new 785 million pound revolving credit facility.

TODAY'S UK PAPERS

> Financial Times

> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com ($1 = 0.6012 British Pounds) (Reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Atul Prakash)

FILED UNDER: