LONDON Jan 18 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening
broadly flat on Friday, somewhere between 3 points lower and 3 points higher,
according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European
stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index finished up 28.38 points, or 0.5 percent, on
Thursday at 6,132.36, its highest close since May 2008. After the index failed
to break through the support level at 6,100 in early falls, buyers entered the
market on the dip.
* Few investors are expected to roll over their downside protection at
Friday's options expiry, with 60 percent more puts than calls due to expire on
the FTSE 100. They may be less willing to spend money on downside insurance on
an index that has gained nearly 4 percent this year and has left 98.2 percent of
put options worthless.
* Data showed that Chinese growth picked up in the last quarter of 2012,
with the economy growing faster than expected, although the growth for the total
year was the weakest since 1999.
* UK Prime Minister David Cameron postponed a planned speech about the
European Union, in which he was going to say that Britain will drift out of the
European project unless the EU tackles the euro zone debt crisis, faltering
competitiveness and declining public support.
* RIO TINTO - the heavyweight miner gains 2.7 percent in Australian
trade, continuing a resurgence after falling as much as 5 percent at the British
open on Thursday after their CEO resigned and the company received a $14 billion
dollar charge, with new CEO Sam Walsh seen as a safe pair of hands.
* UK CORPORATE DIARY: EVRAZ reports fourth quarter output, SPECTRIS
gives trading update for the year.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Toni Vorobyova)