LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening broadly steady on Thursday, with futures on the index down 0.1 percent at 6,387.50 points by 0618 GMT. Financial bookmakers had earlier forecast gains of up to 0.1 percent. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Preliminary UK first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) will be in focus at 0830 GMT, with the economy expected to have eked out 0.1 percent growth in the first quarter versus the previous three months. A negative reading, however, would signal a third recession in four years.
* The FTSE 100 closed up 25.64 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,431.76, on Wednesday, its highest finish since April 2.
* Overnight, Wall Street closed broadly flat, but Asian shares pushed higher.
* Copper and gold both rose to 1-week highs, while Brent climbed above $102, potentially offering some support to Britain’s heavily weighted mining and energy sector.
* VODAFONE - Verizon Communications Inc has hired advisers to prepare a possible $100 billion cash and stock bid to take full control of Verizon Wireless from joint venture partner Vodafone Group, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
* ASTRAZENECA - The drugmaker’s sales fell by a bigger-than-expected 13 percent in the first quarter as patent expiries sent revenue from key medicines skidding lower.
* ADMIRAL - The insurer says year-on-year UK car insurance market premiums are down around 10 percent and group turnover decreased 6 percent in the first quarter to 551 million pounds ($841.18 million).
* UNILEVER - The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company reported underlying sales growth of 4.9 percent in the first quarter, undershooting market estimates, as unusually cold spring weather in Europe hit ice-cream sales.
* POLYMETAL - The Russian precious metals miner said gold equivalent production in the first quarter of 2013 rose 16 percent, year-on-year, to 235,000 troy ounces, while revenues fell 9 percent.
* BT - The telecoms company has begun looking for a mobile phone partner, a potential sign that it could reunite with O2, the Financial Times reports.
* BP - The energy firm quashed market speculation that it may be preparing to restart the main crude unit at its 405,000 barrel per day (bpd) Whiting, Indiana, refinery after a major overhaul that is not due to be finished for months.
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