*Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 6-13 points, or 0.3
percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, extending a strong,
late bounce from the previous session as investors focus on a two-day summit in
Brussels that could shape the euro zone's future. For more on the factors
affecting European stocks, please click on
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pit herself against France and Italy
at the summit starting on Thursday, insisting they must put the bloc's
fundamental problems ahead of pleas for emergency action.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 53.94 points, or 1.4 percent, on
Wednesday at 5,520.90 points, recapturing the 5,500 level, albeit on low trading
volume of just 67 percent of the 90-day daily average, boosted by above-forecast
U.S. durable goods orders and pending homes sales data which eased concerns over
the global growth outlook.
* Brent crude stayed above $93 per barrel on Thursday after rallying
on an output cut by Norway and the positive economic data from the United
* London copper rose for a fourth consecutive session, with
investors cheered by the U.S. data.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP - The state-backed British bank said after
the market close on Wednesday it had reached an understanding over the terms of
a deal to sell over 600 branches to the Co-operative Group and would end talks
over a sale to new banking venture NBNK.
* GLENCORE, XSTRATA - Glencore said after the market close
on Wednesday that it would adjourn its shareholders' meeting, which had been due
on July 11, as it fights to save its $26 billion bid for Xstrata after the
miner's shareholder Qatar stunned the pair with a late demand for better terms.
Xstrata said it would convene a new shareholder meeting when it had updated its
executive pay deals, another bone of contention.
BP - Russia's TNK-BP, half-owned by BP, said on Wednesday
it was encouraged by the results of unconventional drilling at an old west
Siberian field, the first of several projects to determine the efficacy of
fracking to boost output in the declining province.
* PENNON - The water firm replaces International Power in
the FTSE 100 index from the start of trade on Thursday following the power
generator's full takeover by GdF Suez.
* The final reading for British first-quarter GDP growth will be released at
0830 GMT. No change is expected from the previous readings of a 0.3 percent
quarterly fall and a 0.1 percent annualised decline.
* U.S. first-quarter real GDP numbers will be released at 1230 GMT, at the
same time as weekly U.S. initial jobless claims.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
DEBENHAMS issues a trading update.
GREENE KING posts full-year results.
DS SMITH reveals full-year results.
PHOTO-ME INTERNATIONAL unveils full-year results,
ATH RESOURCES posts first-half results.
RENEURON GROUP reports full-year results.
CRIMSON TIDE holds its annual general meeting.
DCD MEDIA holds its annual general meeting.
DODS GROUP holds its annual general meeting.
EURASIA MINING holds its annual general meeting.
STOBART GROUP holds its annual general meeting.
XENETIC BIOSCIENCES holds its annual general meeting.
XTRACT ENERGY holds its annual general meeting.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Editing by John Stonestreet)