* Britain's FTSE 100 futures are up 0.2 percent ahead of market open
on Friday. Financial bookmakers see the underlying index opening flat to
up 3 points, or 0.1 percent higher. For more on the factors affecting European
stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 16.24 points lower on Thursday at 5929.61,
bringing an end to six days of continuous gains, the longest such streak of the
* China's HSBC flash purchasing managers' index for December rose to 50.9, a
14-month high and the fifth straight monthly gain, underlining a brighter
outlook for the world's second biggest economy.
* S&P downgrades the outlook for Britain's triple A credit rating, following
Fitch and Moody's, who gave negative outlooks in early 2012.
* European leaders agreed to press on with further steps to shore up their
finances and sustain momentum in tackling the debt crisis early on Friday
morning, a day after clinching a deal on banking supervision and approving
long-delayed aid to Greece.
* At 0900 GMT, ECB Vice-President Vitor Constancio presents the ECB's
Financial Stability Review, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
likely to speak following a vote at 0830 GMT in Germany's upper house on the
* G4S - The UK service provider is to buy South African cash group
Deposita, owning 87 percent upon completion and paying 8.2 million pounds post
* BANKS - UBS faces a $1 billion fine to settle charges of rigging
the Libor interest rate, with the Swiss bank paying over double what British
bank Barclays paid in June for related conduct.
* PUNCH TAVERNS PLC says its profit performance is in line with
expectations in a trading update.
* Fitch affirms France's credit rating at AAA but gives a negative outlook
with a slightly greater than 50 percent chance of a downgrade.
* U.S. inflation data is released at 1330 GMT. There are no UK economic data
* Across the pond, U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, dragged by the lack of
progress in U.S. "fiscal cliff" negotiations to avoid steep tax increases and
spending cuts. President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John
Boehner held a "frank" face to face meeting late on Thursday.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Alistair Smout)