(Adds company news, futures)
LONDON May 2 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening
flat to 5 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 percent on Friday, according to
financial bookmakers, with futures roughly steady before the open. For
more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index ended up by 0.4 percent, or 28.84 points, at
6,808.87 points, its highest close since March 4, buoyed by Lloyds
while most other European markets were closed for a holiday.
* ASTRAZENECA - U.S. drugmaker Pfizer said on Friday it had
raised its offer for AstraZeneca to 50 pounds ($84.47) a share, adding that the
British drugmaker was reviewing the proposal.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland
trebled its profit in the first quarter, benefiting from improved cost control
and a reduction in impairment costs.
* INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP - InterContinental Hotels Group said
it would return $750 million to shareholders and was considering selling off
more hotels as it posted its strongest room revenue performance in seven
* MARKS & SPENCER - Marks & Spencer , Britain's biggest clothing
retailer, launched a new online push on Thursday, targeting the 19 million
customers a year who shop in its UK stores but do not use its website.
* BARCLAYS - Barclays PLC has named Andrew Jones and Eiji Nakai as
co-chief executive officers for Asia Pacific, replacing the retiring Robert
Morrice who oversaw the British bank's expansion in the region following the
2008 financial crisis.
* REXAM - The packaging company reported results in line with
company expectations, but said that foreign exchange translation headwinds would
weigh in 2014, cautioning also about metal premiums, which are at an all time
* RENTOKIL - The pest control firm said it was confident for the
coming year after reporting a 7.6 increase in operating profit.
* DIRECT LINE - The insurance group reported a lower gross written
premium for ongoing operations than this time last year.
* LAIRD - The technology company reported 7 percent higher revenue,
in line with expectations.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)