LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 23 to 33 points, or as much as 0.5 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures on the blue-chip index were down 0.4 percent at 0717 GMT.
* Minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Oct. 29-30 policy meeting, released on Wednesday, showed officials felt they could decide to start scaling back the U.S. central bank’s massive asset-purchase program at one of its next few meetings provided this was warranted by economic growth.
* Wall Street fell overnight after the Fed minutes, and Asian stocks also slipped, further hindered by weak Chinese data.
* Activity in China’s vast factory sector grew at a milder pace in November as new export orders shrank, according to the Flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), bolstering expectations the economy could lose some vigour in the fourth quarter.
* The UK blue chip index closed 16.93 points or 0.3 percent lower at 6,681.08 on Wednesday.
* British employers agreed a median 2 percent pay rise with workers in the third quarter, less than the increases in the first six months of the year, a survey by researchers Incomes Data Services showed on Thursday.
* British car production rose last month at its fastest rate so far this year, with most of the growth destined for domestic consumption rather than export, the industry’s trade body said on Thursday.
* SAB MILLER - The world’s second-largest brewer, reported higher profit for the first half of its financial year, helped by sales growth in Africa partially offset by declines in Europe and North America. Adjusted earnings per share rose 3 percent to $1.204 per share.
* JOHNSON MATTHEY - The world’s largest maker of catalysts to control car emissions, posted a 13 percent rise in first-half profit, helped by increased global production of cars and trucks and demand for its speciality catalysts.
* NATIONAL GRID - The UK-based energy distributor said the business was performing in line with expectations under a new price controls regime in the UK, after reporting a 7 percent drop in its half-year pre-tax profit.
* BHP - The miner says it has reduced planned capital expenditure by 25 per cent to $16 billion for the 2014 financial year” and expects demand for potash to grow by about two to three per cent per annum to 2030.
* VODAFONE - Vodafone said it is open to keeping network spending above its traditional levels once its two-year booster programme has ended if it needs to respond to customer demand and competitor moves.
* REED ELSEVIER - The business information group said it could return more cash to shareholders after investing in new products to grow revenues and making bolt-on acquisitions.
* BT - Fresh from stunning its rivals in the battle to show European Champions League soccer, BT will be in a strong financial position to bid for the next round of English Premier League rights, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
* BUMI -The coal miner will postpone an investor vote on a planned split with Indonesia’s Bakrie family that co-founded it, after the buyer of its stake failed to provide details of his financing arrangements by an agreed deadline.
* PEARSON - The parent of Fitch, one of the world’s biggest credit ratings agencies, has emerged as a surprise bidder for a provider of business intelligence being sold by Pearson, according to Sky News.
* TALVIVAARA - The Finnish miner has failed to raise additional funds from a group of shareholders to restructure its debt and repeated it may face bankruptcy if it was not admitted to the court-supervised overhaul.
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