LONDON, March 14 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen
opening down 20 to 22 points, or 0.3 percent, on Friday, according to financial
* Futures on the index were down 0.5 percent ahead of the cash
* The UK blue chip index closed 1 percent lower on Thursday at 6,553.78
points, weighed down by food retailers and hitting a new one-month low on
growing concerns about a conflict in the Ukraine and jitters in the Chinese
* PHARMACEUTICALS - Britain is to accelerate access to ground-breaking drugs
for serious conditions under a new early-access plan that the government hopes
will benefit both patients and pharmaceutical companies.
* BP - The U.S. government lifted a ban on Thursday that excluded BP
from new federal contracts, after the British oil major filed a
lawsuit saying it was being unfairly penalized for its 2010 Gulf of Mexico
* BARCLAYS - Barclays is reviewing the size and shape of
its investment bank, in a review that is expected to result in it shrinking and
focusing on its most profitable areas, two people familiar with the matter said
* Rising geopolitical tensions un Ukraine helped push gold to a six
month high and pushed Brent oil towards $108, while copper was
set for its biggest weekly fall in 11 months.
* JD WETHERSPOON - The pub operator's first half profit before tax
increased by 8.5 percent, with the company saying it continues to expect a
reasonable outcome in the current financial year.
* STHREE - The staffing firm said on Friday its group gross profit
was up 9 percent year on year, boosted by a strong seasonal recovery in
* GULF MARINE SERVICES - Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Marine Services
set the price for its flotation at 135 pence per share on Friday, giving the
firm a market capitalisation of around 472 million pounds ($787.1 million).
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
For more information on Top News visit