(Adds futures, company news)
LONDON, March 27 Britain's FTSE 100
index is seen opening lower on Thursday, with June futures for
the index down 0.4 percent by 0733 GMT. For more on the
factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up by 0.41 points, flat in
percentage terms, at 6,605.30 points on Wednesday. It has been
trapped in a range between around 6,400 to 6,800 since late
* UK retail sales numbers for February, set for release at
0930 GMT, are expected to show an improvement from January's
sharp 1.5 percent decline.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, HSBC : Among banks
blocked by the U.S. Federal Reserve in their plans for higher
dividends or share buybacks were the U.S. units of HSBC and RBS,
due to weaknesses in their capital planning processes.
* BP : Between nine and 18 barrels (378-756 gallons)
of oil spilled into Lake Michigan from BP Plc's Whiting refinery
in Indiana after a malfunction on Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : GlaxoSmithKline and Merck and Co
Inc are not reimbursing drug co-payments for patients
who purchase their health insurance through state and federal
exchanges set up under the Obamacare program.
Separately, Glaxo is linking with two top bioscience centres
on an open-access research project to tap into "big data"
generated by gene research, in a move highlighting how drug
companies are learning to share.
Also, British healthcare cost agency NICE is to take a
broader view of the value offered by new medicines under
proposals that may make it more likely that it will say "yes" to
novel drugs in future.
* ENERGY SUPPLIERS: Britain's energy suppliers could be on
track for their biggest shake up since privatisation when
regulators rule on Thursday whether the industry is competitive
enough following a public outcry over high prices.
* COMPASS GROUP : The catering firm said it sees
first-half revenue growth of about 4 percent.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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(Reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Francesco Canepa)