LONDON, Sept 4 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat near a 14-1/2-year high on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index briefly hit 6,898.62 points on Wednesday, its highest level since early 2000, before closing 0.7 percent higher at 6,873.58 points.
* Investors focus will be on a policy meeting of the European Central Bank, which faces intense market pressure to take policy action and risks losing credibility if it fails to back up a dovish message delivered by President Mario Draghi late last month.
* The Bank of England is also scheduled to have a policy meeting later in the day.
* STANDARD LIFE - Manulife Financial Corp said on Wednesday it has agreed to acquire the Canadian operations of Standard Life for about C$4 billion ($3.7 billion) in cash, in a deal that significantly expands the insurer's presence in Quebec.
* Insurer Direct Line and electronics goods retailer Dixons Carphone - formed by a merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse - are to be promoted into Britain's benchmark FTSE 100 equity index.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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