* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 16-19 points, or 0.4 percent on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, extending recent sharp falls into a fourth straight session and tracking declines on Wall Street and in Asia as worries Spain may need a full debt bailout dog markets. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down 34.64 points, or 0.6 percent at 5,499.23 on Tuesday, ending below 5,500 for the first time since June 28, with financial stocks knocked by concerns over exposure to euro zone debt, exacerbated by fears Greece would struggle to meet the terms of its aid package.
* U.S. tech giant Apple Inc saw its second-quarter results fall short of Wall Street's lofty expectations as a sagging European economy and a pause in iPhone sales ahead of the release of a new version saw revenues slip from the previous quarter.
Apple shares fell more than 5 percent in late trade on Wall Street, and Apple's suppliers also felt the pain in Asia as shares in LG Display , Toshiba and Hon Hai sank between 5 and 7 percent.
* HSBC - UK Trade Minister Stephen Green said he "regrets" the compliance failings of HSBC in relation to alleged money-laundering when he was chairman there, but said he had no plans to quit.
* BP - The oil major failed to pay attention to major areas of potential danger on its oil rigs, according to a new report into the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people and unleashed America's worst oil spill, the Guardian said.
* VODAFONE - The mobile phone firm bucked the anti-executive pay trends of the so-called Shareholder Spring after more investors voted in favour of its remuneration policies at this year's annual meeting than in 2011, the Daily Telegraph said.
* China's economy is set for a soft landing even as global headwinds increase, the International Monetary Fund said in a report on Wednesday that urged further reform and currency appreciation to rebalance growth and reduce risks.
* China's economic growth will likely pick up in the second half of 2012 as a raft of policies rolled out to boost economic activity gain traction, the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Wednesday.
* Britain tipped into a second recession within four years at the end of last year, and second-quarter GDP data due at 0830 GMT is forecast to show a further contraction of 0.2 percent, on top of the 0.3 percent decline at the start of the year.
* July's Confederation of British industry (CBI) trends-orders survey is due at 1000 GMT.
* Across the Atlantic, weekly U.S. mortgage and refinancing indexes will be released at 1100 GMT, with June U.S. new home sales data due at 1400 GMT.
* Only one FTSE 100 stock -- Scottish & Southern Energy -- will trade without entitlement to its latest dividend on Wednesday, with the ex-dividend move knocking 2.09 points off the FTSE 100 index.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
GLAXOSMITHKLINE posts second-quarter results.
ARM HOLDINGS reveals second-quarter results.
BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO reports first-half results.
BRITISH LAND issues a trading update.
BT GROUP posts first-quarter results.
TULLOW OIL unveils first-half results.
CAPITA posts first-half results.
DAILY MAIL & GENERAL issues a trading update.
EASYJET issues a trading update.
PETROPAVLOVSK issues a trading update.
MARSTON'S issues a trading update.
INFORMA delivers first-half results.
LANCASHIRE HOLDINGS reports second-quarter results.
HOGG ROBINSON GROUP issues a trading update.
MECOM GROUP reports first-half results.
ASHLEY HOUSE reveals full-year results.
RENISHAW delivers full-year results.
E2V TECHNOLOGIES issues a trading update.
SCIENTIFIC DIGITAL IMAGING posts full-year results.
SYNECTICS unveils first-half results.
TARSUS GROUP reports first-half results.
YELL GROUP unveils first-quarter results.
BREWIN DOLPHIN issues a trading update.
COOKSON GROUP posts first-half results.
CALEDONIA INVESTMENTS holds its annual general meeting.
DIGITAL BARRIERS holds its annual general meeting.
FIRSTGROUP holds its annual general meeting.
RED24 holds its annual general meeting.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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