(Adds company news and futures)
Dec 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen to open 18 points lower at 7,478.8 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.22 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* BUNZL: British business supplies distributor Bunzl Plc forecast an about 15 percent rise in full-year group revenue, helped by new business wins in North America.
* LONMIN/SIBANYE-STILLWATER: South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater has agreed to buy Lonmin, valuing the troubled platinum producer at about 285 million pounds ($382.47 million), the two companies said on Thursday.
* OCADO: British online grocer Ocado suffered a slow down in retail sales growth in its latest quarter, hurt by a shortage of drivers, it said on Thursday.
* SPORTS DIRECT: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct reported a 7 percent rise in first-half adjusted earnings on Thursday, and said its new flagship stores, designed to move the discount brand up-market, were trading well.
* CAPITA: British outsourcer Capita said on Thursday it was on track to hit its full-year profit target but said upcoming work was unlikely to provide an immediate boost as the overhaul of its business continues under its new chief executive.
* RIO TINTO: Liberty House, the industrial and commodities group buying a number of steel assets around the world, is considering a bid for Rio Tinto’s , aluminium smelter in northern France, the largest in Europe, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
* OIL: Oil markets rose on Thursday, lifted by a fourth straight weekly fall in U.S. crude inventories, though climbing output capped prices well below the 2015 highs reached earlier this week.
* GOLD: Gold inched up in early trade on Thursday as the dollar was nearly unchanged after tumbling in the previous session following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s widely expected decision to raise interest rates, although it left the outlook on rates unchanged.
* GLOBAL-METALS: London metals were broadly higher on Thursday as the dollar fell after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept its rate outlook unchanged, while encouraging factory figures from China and Japan added to the rosier picture.
* BRITAIN-EU: British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge European Union leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase on Thursday, describing it as a fair deal that offers a good base for a discussion of future ties.
* EX-DIVS: Associated British Foods, 3I Group will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.7 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip index ended less than 0.1 percent lower on Wednesday, as investors’ anticipation of a rate rise from the U.S. Federal Reserve drove financial stocks higher while high-yielding consumer stocks suffered.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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