LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - * Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 20 to 21 points higher, or 0.4 percent up, with financial bookmakers expecting a rise in Chinese manufacturing data to boost equity markets. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down by 0.1 percent, or 3.48 points lower, at 5,866.82 points on Friday.
* London copper was steady on Monday, sitting near its highest level in more than five weeks hit in the previous session, after promising manufacturing data from top consumer China, but worries over U.S. fiscal woes kept a lid on prices.
* Brent crude rose toward $112 per barrel on Monday on signs of reviving economic growth in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, and supply concerns triggered by tension in the Middle East.
* British finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday he would stick with his deficit-reduction programme when he presents a half-yearly fiscal statement on Wednesday.
* Britain aims to raise more than 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) a year over the next two years by tackling tax avoidance by multinational companies and rich individuals with offshore accounts, the country’s finance ministry said on Monday.
* On the macroeconomic front, November Markit/CIPS PMI data is due to be published. The reading is expected to edge up to 48.0 points from 47.5, according to a Reuters poll..
* CABLE & WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS : Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) has reached an agreement with Cable & Wireless Communications to buy the British telecommunication group’s assets in Monaco and a host of island nations, in a deal potentially worth up to $1 billion.
* BALFOUR BEATTY : The British infrastructure group reported that it would continue to allocate capital to its professional services division, and was confident of achieving a 6-7 percent margin target for that unit by 2015.
* BP : BP will outline growth plans for its oil and gas production arm on Monday in its first strategy update since striking a series of deals aimed at getting its Russian and U.S. operations back on track.
* PARAGON : The British mortgage specialist said it was in the early stages of considering the acquisition of Hampshire Trust.
* GEM DIAMONDS : The diamond mining group said it was planning to sell the Ellendale diamond mine and would sell to Goodrich 100 percent of the shares in Gem Diamonds Australia Holdings for A$14.3 million.
* ST MODWEN PROPERTIES : The property group said its expectations for the full year remain unchanged.
* POLYMETAL INTL : The mining company announced a significant mineral resource expansion at its Albazino site.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : It will take a decade to fully return Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L to the private sector, the state-owned lender has predicted, according to the UK’s Times newspaper on Monday.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare APNJ.J said on Monday it has finalised the acquisition of medicines from GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L for 163.8 million pounds ($263 million).
* VIRGIN ATLANTIC: Delta Air Lines, America’s largest airline, is plotting to take control of Virgin Atlantic after making a secret approach to the British carrier’s Asian shareholder, Britain’s Sunday Times reported.
* CENTRICA : The Daily Express reported on Monday that the utility group is set to consider returning up to 500 million pounds to shareholders if it pulls out of a nuclear power scheme.
* EVOCUTIS : The healthcare group said it had appointed consultants to assist it in reviewing strategic options for the company..
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