LONDON, March 17 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen
opening a touch higher, with March futures on the index up 0.2 percent ahead of
the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.4 percent lower at 6,527.89 points, taking
the week's total losses to 2.8 percent, the biggest drop since June 2013.
* VODAFONE : The mobile company agreed a deal to buy Spanish cable
operator Ono for 7.2 billion euros ($10.03 billion), in the latest deal to
rebuild its European operations.
* HOUSE BUILDERS: Britain plans to extend a scheme to encourage house
building and develop a new town close to London, finance minister George Osborne
said on Sunday, ahead of a budget announcement this week that will stick closely
to his austerity programme.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : The state-backed lender is in advanced
talks with the British government to buy back a "golden share," which would
enable the lender to resume paying dividends, the Financial Times reported.
The paper also wrote Barclays, Citigroup and Royal Bank of
Scotland have frozen bonuses across many of their foreign exchange trading teams
as internal investigations scrutinise the possible manipulation of key currency
* LLOYDS BANK The bank said it will grow its lending to
small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) by a further 1 billion pounds this year,
seeing stronger growth prospects for smaller businesses as Britain's economic
recovery takes hold.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL : The oil major said on Friday it had suspended
third party exports of Nigeria's Forcardos grade of crude oil due to a leak in
the pipeline which it is repairing.
* COPPER MINERS: Copper producers plan to expand mine capacity and output to
record levels again this year, underlining potential additional downward
pressures on prices, which have fallen steeply recently, the FT wrote on Monday.
* BUNZL : The business supplies distributor said on Monday it has
acquired Brazilian healthcare distributor Lamedid.
* RIO TINTO : The miner has bucked the trend set by its FTSE-100
peers and decided not to put its audit contract on the market this year, despite
increasing pressure from domestic and European rulemakers to do so, The Times
reported on Monday.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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* 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting By Francesco Canepa,; Editing by Alistair Smout)