(Adds futures, detail, company news)
LONDON, April 16 Britain's FTSE 100
index is seen opening higher on Wednesday, with June futures for
the index up 0.8 percent by 0635 GMT. For more on the
factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK benchmark closed down 42.15 points, or 0.6
percent, at 6,541.61 points on Tuesday, its lowest close since
* The index on Wednesday looked set to take its cue from
Asian stock markets, which were mostly in the black after China
reported economic growth a touch above forecasts.
China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 18 months in the
first quarter of 2014, official data showed, with signs of
waning momentum already prompting limited government action to
steady the world's second-largest economy.
However, the data, which showed 7.4 percent growth, came in
slightly stronger than the median forecast of 7.3 percent in a
Reuters poll although it showed a slowdown from growth of 7.7
percent in the final quarter of 2013.
* In terms of domestic data, figures on average earnings in
the monthly labour market release, due at 0830 GMT, are expected
to rise by 1.8 percent in the three months to February, which
would be welcome news for the hard pressed consumer.
* Investors will also be keeping a close eye on any
developments in Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces launched a "special operation" on Tuesday
against separatist militia in the Russian-speaking East,
authorities said, although aside from a landing by airborne
troops the action was limited.
* Stocks trading without the attraction of their latest
dividend, namely ARM Holdings, BAE Systems,
Barratt Developments, Capita, Melrose
Industries, Petrofac, and Smith & Nephew
will knock 3.2 points off the FTSE 100 on Wednesday.
* TESCO : Britain's biggest retailer said it
expected tough trading to continue as it posted a 6 percent fall
in annual profit, its second straight year of decline.
* BURBERRY : The luxury retailer said strong sales
in China and Korea helped it to a 19 percent rise in second-half
revenue, beating analyst expectations, but said it expected
currency headwinds to hit profits in the next two years.
* HARGREAVES LANSDOWN : The investment firm saw
record quarterly net inflows of money from clients in the three
months to March 31 as low interest rates pushed more people into
playing the stock market.
* PERSIMMON : The housebuilder said its new financial
year has started well.
* RECKITT BENCKISER GROUP : The company reported a 4
percent rise in like-for-like sales at constant currency rates,
excluding its shrinking pharmaceuticals business, and said it
was on track to achieve its full-year targets.
* BHP BILLITON : The world's biggest mining company
lifted full-year iron ore production guidance by 5 million
tonnes to 217 million as it pushes ahead with expansion work in
* BUNZL : The business supplies distributor
announced three acquisitions for a total of 80 million pounds
($133.84 million) after reporting a 5 percent rise in first-
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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(Reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)