(Adds company news, futures price)
LONDON, April 23 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen
opening flat to up by 1 point according to financial bookmakers, while the FTSE
100 futures contract was also trading flat by 0620 GMT. For more on the
factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up by 0.9 percent, or 56.51 points, at
6,681.76 points on Tuesday.
* A host of FTSE 100 stocks go ex-dividend on Wednesday, including BG
and Legal & General, and will take around 9 points off the index.
* CHINESE DATA:
Data showed on Wednesday China's HSBC/Markit flash Purchasing Managers Index
(PMI) for April rose to 48.3 from March's final reading of 48.0, with analysts
seeing the figure as an initial sign of stabilisation in the economy following
the government's targeted measures to support growth.
* AB FOODS :
Associated British Foods met forecasts with a 1 percent rise in first-half
profit with a major fall in its sugar business offset by a strong performance
from its Primark clothing chain and progress in its grocery operation.
* AMEC :
Engineering company AMEC said it had continued to trade in line with
expectations for 2014.
* ARM :
ARM Holdings, the British company whose chip technology powers Apple's
iPhone, reported a 9 percent rise in first-quarter profit and said its customers
were signalling an upturn in demand in the second half.
* HAMMERSON :
Property company Hammerson said economic recovery was driving tenant demand.
* REED ELSEVIER :
Anglo-Dutch business information provider Reed Elsevier said it
expected to post another year of underlying revenue and earnings growth in 2014
after trading broadly in line during the first quarter.
* SPORTS DIRECT :
Sportswear retailer Sports Direct posted an 11.5 percent rise in Q4 gross
* GLENCORE XSTRATA :
Nigeria has awarded most of its long-term oil contracts worth an estimated
$40 billion a year to local companies, according to a confidential list seen by
Reuters, meaning global traders need to partner with them to access crude from
Africa's top producer.
* BP :
Oil major BP sold four Alaska oilfields for an undisclosed sum, while the
high-stakes penalty phase of BP's trial over its role in the 2010 U.S. Gulf of
Mexico oil spill will start next January, court officials said.
* SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE:
An independent Scotland would work closely with northern England to boost
its economy and job opportunities, Scottish leader Alex Salmond will say on
Wednesday in a bid to allay concerns south of the border about Scotland quitting
the United Kingdom.
* EXECUTIVE PAY:
British Business Secretary Vince Cable on Tuesday warned banks and other
major companies to rein in excessive executive pay or face tighter rules, in a
letter aimed at Barclays and other FTSE 100 companies ahead of their
annual general meetings.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)