LONDON, Sept 4 Britain's FTSE 100 index
is seen opening flat near a 14-1/2-year high on Thursday,
according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors
affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index are also flat at 0635 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index briefly hit 6,898.62 points on
Wednesday, its highest level since early 2000, before closing
0.7 percent higher at 6,873.58 points.
* STANDARD LIFE - Manulife Financial Corp
said on Wednesday it has agreed to acquire the Canadian
operations of Standard Life for about C$4 billion ($3.7 billion)
in cash, in a deal that significantly expands the insurer's
presence in Quebec.
* Investors focus will be on a policy meeting of the
European Central Bank, which faces intense market pressure to
take policy action and risks losing credibility if it fails to
back up a dovish message delivered by President Mario Draghi
late last month.
* The Bank of England is also scheduled to have a policy
meeting later in the day.
* CENTRICA - The company said its EPS in 2014 was
now expected to reduce by between 0.6 and 0.9 pence per share.
* EASYJET - The company said its August passenger
numbers rose 8.4 percent.
* Insurer Direct Line and electronics goods
retailer Dixons Carphone - formed by a merger between
Dixons and Carphone Warehouse - are to be promoted into
Britain's benchmark FTSE 100 equity index.
* EDF Energy said on Thursday it expects two of its
nuclear power stations in Britain, currently offline for
inspections, will be brought back to service between the end of
October and end of December.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - British building group Balfour
Beatty BALF.L said it would return up to 200 million pounds
($329 million) to shareholders and reduce its pension fund
deficit after agreeing to sell its Parsons Brinckerhoff business
for almost $1.24 billion.
* A decision by Scotland to vote in favour of independence
from the United Kingdom could have serious consequences for the
Scottish and UK economies, Goldman Sachs said in a research note
* Brent crude slipped towards $102 a barrel, reversing some
of the sharp overnight gains, as U.S. industry data showed fuel
stocks rose last week and raised fresh doubts about the strength
of demand in the world's biggest oil consumer.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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(Reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Blaise Robinson)