LONDON Aug 29 Britain's FTSE 100 index
is seen opening up 2 to 6 points, or as much as 0.1 percent
higher, on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. For more
on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index were flat at 0636 GMT.
* The market focus was squarely on European Central Bank
policy as investors awaited inflation figures for the euro zone,
which may shed light on the bank's next move.
Euro zone inflation, due at 0900 GMT, is seen dropping to
0.3 percent in August, following a surprise dip to 0.4 percent
in July, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
The data will be at the centre of the ECB's policy meeting
next week, fuelling the debate about whether the central bank
should accelerate existing policy measures to fight the risk of
* The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which on Wednesday
had risen to its highest close since early July, ended down
24.86 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,805.80 points on Thursday.
* The Ukrainian crisis was still at the forefront of
investors' minds on Friday after Ukraine's president said
Russian troops had entered his country in support of pro-Moscow
rebels who captured a key coastal town.
* HOUSE PRICES: British house prices rose during August at a
much faster monthly pace than expected, according to a survey
that contrasted with other signs of cooling in the housing
Mortgage lender Nationwide said house prices rose 0.8
percent on the month in August compared with a 0.2 percent rise
in July. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase
of 0.1 percent.
* British consumer morale strengthened more than expected in
August, matching June's nine-year high, as Britons became more
confident about the economy and their financial prospects, a
* TESCO : The supermarket group slashed its interim
dividend by 75 percent, after tough operating conditions forced
it to cut its trading profit outlook for the year.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL : The oil major has sought
permission from the U.S. government to drill in the Arctic Ocean
and is keeping open the possibility that it could drill there
next summer, the Financial Times reported.
* HSBC : A U.S. regulator can proceed with lawsuits
accusing HSBC Holdings Plc and Nomura Holdings Inc of
misleading Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying
mortgage-backed securities that later turned toxic, a federal
* BARCLAYS : Barclays PLC has agreed to raise up to
$275 million to fund Detroit's exit from municipal bankruptcy,
according to a notice filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by the
* SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Support for Scottish independence
has risen by 4 percent after the final TV debate before a
breakaway referendum in less than three weeks' time, one opinion
poll showed, halving the anti-independence campaign's lead.
Also, Sir Mike Rake, president of the Confederation of
British Industry, says Scottish secession will endanger the
recoveries on both sides of the border, the Telegraph reported.
Separately, British Prime Minister David Cameron told Scots
that much of their industry and more than one million jobs could
be put in jeopardy if they vote next month to leave the United
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(Reporting by Tricia Wright; editing by Blaise Robinson)