(Adds company news, futures price)
LONDON May 14 Britain's FTSE 100 is
seen inching higher on Wednesday, with the June futures contract
up 0.1 percent by 0637 GMT ahead of the cash market
open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please
* The UK blue chip index hit its highest closing level since
December 1999 on Tuesday, rising 21.33 points, or 0.3 percent,
to 6,873.08 points.
* Bank of England Governor Mark Carney faces a difficult
balancing act on Wednesday when he will try to acknowledge
Britain's strong economic recovery without adding to
expectations of an early rise in interest rates.
Britain is set for economic growth of about 3 percent this
year, faster than any other big, industrialised nation, and
house prices have jumped by about 10 percent over the past 12
months, raising fears of a new property bubble.
The BoE is due to publish new economic forecasts and Carney
will hold a news conference at 0930 GMT.
An hour earlier, data is expected to show unemployment fell
again in the three months to March and earnings outpaced
inflation as the labour market gathered more strength.
* ASTRAZENECA : Pfizer faces calls to extend
its commitment to UK jobs and research to least 10 years as the
U.S. drugmaker's boss prepares for a second day of questioning
from lawmakers over its plan to buy AstraZeneca.
* BHP BILLITON : BHP Billiton is in talks to sell its
nickel business based in Western Australia, the top global miner
said, in line with its aim of simplifying the company.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : Chinese police said they had
charged the British former China head of the drugmaker and other
colleagues with corruption, after a 10-month probe found they
paid billions of yuan in bribes to doctors and hospitals.
* DIAGEO The spirits company launched 1.7 billion
euros ($2.3 billion) fixed rate bonds.
* CARD FACTORY IPO-CARD.L: The UK retailer has narrowed
the price guidance on its London initial public offering to
225-240 pence, two sources familiar with the deal said.
* ADMIRAL GROUP : The British auto insurer posted a
7 percent drop in turnover in the first three months of 2014
despite a 6 percent increase in customers, amid sliding UK car
* BRITISH LAND COMPANY : British Land, developer of
London's "Cheesegrater" skyscraper, posted a 15.4 percent jump
in full-year net asset value, helped by the country's commercial
property market recovery and moves to re-shape its own real
* COMPASS GROUP : Compass, the world's biggest
catering firm, said it would return 1 billion pounds ($1.68
billion) to shareholders through a special dividend as it posted
a 5.7 percent rise in first-half profit.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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($1 = 0.7296 Euros)
(Reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)