LONDON Aug 21 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down by 22 to 23 points, or as much as 0.4 percent lower on Wednesday as investors trim their positions on expectations of an upcoming reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Companies going ex-dividend on Wednesday, including British American Tobacco and HSBC, will take 10.60 points off the index.
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.2 percent or 12.27 points, at 6,453.46 points on Tuesday.
* Traders will look closely at the minutes of the Federal Reserve's July policy meeting, due to be published at 1800 GMT, for clues as to when and by how much the central bank will cut its monthly asset purchase programme in response to stronger economic growth.
* Also on the macroeconomic front, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) publishes August trends orders data at 1000 GMT.
* London copper drifted lower on Wednesday ahead of the release of minutes from the July Federal Reserve meeting.
* UK RETAIL SECTOR: Kate Bostock, one of the biggest names in Britain's retail industry, is going to head up privately owned clothing chain Coast, as it eyes international expansion, according to British media reports.
* UK OIL SECTOR: The production efficiency of Britain's existing North Sea oilfields "remains in worrying decline" despite an upsurge in investment this year, industry body Oil & Gas UK said in its annual economic report.
* BT : Ofcom proposed controls on BT in the area of fixed voice calls.
* LLOYDS : British state-backed lender Lloyds Banking Group said on Wednesday it had sold German life insurer Heidelberger Leben to a joint venture between private equity group Cinven and Hannover Re for around 300 million euros ($403 million).
* HOCHSCHILD : Latin American miner Hochschild suspended its interim dividend after falls in the prices of precious metals hit its half-year profits by 46 percent.
* AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD : Tanzania-focused miner African Barrick Gold on Wednesday named industry veteran Bradley A Gordon as its new chief executive, succeeding Greg Hawkins who has resigned to pursue other opportunities.
* HIKMA : The pharmaceuticals group said it saw 20 percent full-year revenue growth.
* FORTUNE OIL : The energy group posted lower H1 profits.
* NORTHACRE : The property group named Niccol Barattieri di San Pietro as its new CEO.
* GOAL SOCCER CENTRES : The Daily Express and The Times report speculation that Goal Soccer Centres could attract private equity bid interest.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)