LONDON Jan 3 Britain's FTSE 100 is set to edge lower on
Friday, with futures on the index slipping 0.2 percent ahead of the cash
* The UK blue chip index closed down 31.18 points on Thursday at 6,717.91,
as miners were hit by disappointing Chinese factory data.
* Growth in China's services sector fell to a four-month low in December as
business expectations dropped, a government survey showed, adding to evidence
that the world's second-largest economy lost steam into the close of 2013.
* Signs of soft Chinese demand saw London copper slide around half a percent
on Friday, easing from a seven-month top as expectations of higher supplies and
concerns over Chinese growth weighed on the market.
* NEXT - Britain's second largest clothing retailer raised its
annual profit forecast after fourth quarter sales came in significantly ahead of
its previous guidance.
* HOUSE OF FRASER - The British department stores group expects
to be listed by the end of the year even as it remains in exclusive talks
regarding a potential takeover by its French counterpart Galeries Lafayette
, the Times of London reported the chief executive officer of the
department store chain as saying.
* BP - U.S.-listed Kosmos Energy announced it has entered
into a rig share agreement with BP and AP Moller Maersk for
drilling operations in Morocco.
* ASTRAZENECA - Probiodrug is to sell its CDK9 inhibitor programme,
developed to regulate inflammation, to AstraZeneca for an undisclosed sum.
* APR ENERGY - The energy firm says it has renewed a 70 megawatt
contract to supply diesel power in Botswana to its national electric utility.
* JOHNSON SERVICE GROUP - The textile rental and drycleaning firm
appoints Chris Sander as its new CEO with immediate effect, and say it expects
to announce full year profit before tax in line with expectations.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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