LONDON Aug 1 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 16 to 18 points lower, or down as much as 0.3 percent, on Friday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index were down 0.1 percent at 0654 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.6 percent, or 43.33 points, at 6,730.11 points on Thursday.
* Investors' focus will be on U.S. jobs data, due at 1230 GMT. Non-farm payrolls are predicted to have risen by 233,000 in July, which would mark the sixth month with job growth above 200,000.
* China's vast factory sector posted its strongest growth in 18 months in July as new orders surged to multi-month highs, a private survey showed on Friday, adding to signs the economy is regaining momentum after a flurry of government stimulus measures.
* INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES GROUP - The British Airways owner reported first-half operating profit before exceptional items of 230 million euros ($308 million) and reiterated full-year guidance, but said it would cut capacity for the winter.
* IMI - The supplier of flow-control systems reported a 6 percent drop in adjusted operating profit for the first half of the year, hit by the strong pound.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - The bank said a vote by Scotland to become independent from the rest of the United Kingdom could significantly increase its costs and have a material impact on its business.
* SMITH & NEPHEW - Europe's largest maker of artificial joints reported a 10 percent rise in second-quarter trading profit as its business regained some momentum after a weak start to the year.
* GLENCORE - The miner has collected $7 billion from China's MMG Ltd and its partners with the completion of the sale of one of the world's largest copper projects, the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru, MMG said on Friday.
* BANKS - Hong Kong's securities watchdog has warned banks it will clamp-down on exchange trading platforms known as dark pools in a direct fallout from the Barclays scandal in the United States, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - Woodside Petroleum Ltd failed to win shareholder approval to buy back $2.68 billion of its shares from Royal Dutch Shell, Australia's top oil and gas company said after a vote on Friday.
* SSE - Firefighters were bringing a blaze at Ferrybridge coal-fired power plant in northern England under control, operator SSE said late on Thursday, adding no injuries had been reported and there was no impact on the UK's electricity supply.
* Brent crude held near $106 a barrel on Friday as ample supply continued to drag on prices a day after the benchmark posted its worst monthly performance since April 2013.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta)