LONDON Jan 10 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening
up between 2-4 points, or as much as 0.1 percent higher on Thursday, according
to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks,
please click on
* Britain's blue-chip stocks hit their highest level since May 2008 on
Wednesday, closing 45.02 points higher on Wednesday at 6,098.65, having hit a
high of 6,112.27 in afternoon trade as global markets responded well to Alcoa's
encouraging first report of the earnings season.
* Exports out of China grew 3-1/2 times faster than expected last month,
flagging a cautious economic improvement globally.
* MINERS: Iron ore imports in China, the world's top buyer, hit a record
high in December, likely offering relief to international mining companies.
* Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are expected to
leave policy unchanged at the end of their monthly meetings on Thursday, though
rumours that the BoE might ease policy to help a weak domestic economy helped
sterling to one-month lows against the dollar on Wednesday.
* VODAFONE: The CEO of Verizon Communications said that the group was
not in talks with Vodafone Group about taking full ownership of their
Verizon Wireless venture, despite market speculation this week that such a deal
* MARKS & SPENCER: The British retailer reported a bigger-than-expected drop
in non-food sales in the Christmas, with sales of clothing, footwear and
homewares slumping 3.8 percent in the 13 weeks to Dec. 29.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY: TESCO issues a trading update. HAYS
issues a fourth-quarter trading update. RATHBONE BROTHERS issues a
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Toni Vorobyova)