(Adds futures, news)
LONDON May 1 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 5
points higher, or 0.07 percent, according to financial bookmakers. Futures for
the index are up 0.2 percent by 0639 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.2 percent higher at 6,780.03 points in the
previous session after hitting an intraday peak of 6,794.88, the highest level
since early March.
* Trading volumes are likely to be thin as other stock markets in Europe are
closed for the May Day holiday.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP - The bank reported a 22 percent increase in
first-quarter pretax profit and said it continued to expect to apply for
permission in the second half of the year to restart dividend payments.
* BG - Britain's third-biggest oil and gas company reported a 6
percent fall in first-quarter operating profit as it struggled with lower output
and continued troubles at its Egyptian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.
* ROLLS-ROYCE - The company said it was on track to report flat
revenue and profit in 2014, in line with an earlier forecast, and said that a
one-off charge in its marine unit meant that its performance would be weighted
to the second half.
* BSKYB - British pay-TV operator BSkyB added 74,000 net new TV
customers in the third quarter, more than double the growth it recorded last
year, as it shrugged off the competition from BT.
* SCHRODERS - The British fund manager said assets under management
rose to a record 268 billion pounds ($452.53 billion) in the first quarter of
2014 after it took in new money across a range of products.
* WEIR GROUP - The British engineer said it remained on track for a
return to growth this year as demand for oil and gas equipment and services
outstripped sluggish mining orders in the first quarter.
* British house prices rose much faster than expected last month to record
their biggest annual rise since the start of the financial crisis, data from
mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Thursday.
* SMITH & NEPHEW - Europe's largest maker of artificial joints posted
a 5 percent drop in underlying trading profit.
* The Dow Jones industrial average closed at its first record high of
2014 on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve gave an upbeat view of the
economy's prospects as it announced another cut to its massive bond-buying
* The Fed said in a statement it would reduce its monthly bond purchases to
$45 billion from $55 billion, as expected. That will keep it on track to end the
programme as soon as October.
* RECKITT BENCKISER - The company is no longer in active talks with
Merck & Co about buying its consumer health business, it said on
* London copper slipped to a seven-session low on Thursday after China's
manufacturing sector showed a slight improvement in April but missed forecasts,
while prices were set to drift with top consumer China on a two-day break.
* Brent crude eased down towards $108 a barrel, not far above its lowest in
more than two weeks, as a potential rise in Libya's oil supply and record-high
inventories in the United States weighed on prices.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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(Reporting by Atul Prakash, editing by Tricia Wright)