LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - An early retreat is expected for Britain’s FTSE 100 with the index seen opening down 11 points, or 0.1 percent lower on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Britain’s blue chip share index closed within sight of its all-time high on Tuesday, lifted by mining stocks and positive corporate news from luxury retailer Burberry among others.
The FTSE 100 index ended up 48.24 points, or 0.7 percent, at 6,803.87, its highest finish since its record close of 6,950.60 in late 1999 but is expected to open slightly weaker on Wednesday while investors await U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress.
On Tuesday, two senior Federal Reserve officials played down the chances the Fed will soon signal a readiness to trim its bond buying programme, sparking gains on Wall Street.
* Asian markets rose while copper held near two-week highs and gold also gained ground on hopes of U.S. stimulus continuing.
* There is a batch of UK economic announcements due out including:
BoE Interest Rate Minutes (0830 GMT)
Public Sector Finances (0830 GMT)
April Retail Sales (0830 GMT) +2 pct y-o-y, flat m-o-m - Reuters poll
May CBI Industrial Trends Surveys (1000 GMT) -19 - Reuters poll
* In the U.S. economic releases include:
Weekly Mortgage data (1100 GMT)
April Existing home sales (1400) +1.5 percent - Reuters poll
* The following FTSE 100 companies will go ex-dividend on Wednesday, after which investors will no longer qualify for the latest dividend payout:
According to Reuters calculations at current market prices, the effect of the resulting adjustment to prices by market-makers would take 7.38 points off the index.
* BP : The oil major has stepped up appeals against what it says are unjustified compensation payments under the settlement it reached with those affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to the Financial Times.
* BALFOUR BEATTY : The infrastructure services firm rose on Tuesday amid vague rumours of a potential 2.4 billion pounds or 360 pence-per-share bid, with German industrial giant Siemens one name in the frame, according to the Daily Mail market report.
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