(Adds company news items and futures)
Nov 8 - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 28 points higher at 7,145 points on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with FTSE 100 futures up 0.44 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* ASTRAZENECA: Strong demand for AstraZeneca’s new drugs - especially those for cancer - drove a return to sales growth in the third quarter and the drugmaker said it now expected a period of sustained growth “for years to come”.
* BAE SYSTEMS: Britain’s biggest defence company BAE Systems stuck to a forecast for flat earnings in 2018 and said its programmes to build ships and fighter jets for the UK, and combat vehicles and other equipment in the United States, were making progress.
* SAINSBURY’S: Sainsbury’s, Britain’s No. 2 supermarket group that has agreed to take over rival Asda, beat forecasts with a 20 percent increase in first half profit, as it delivered cost savings from its Argos general merchandise business ahead of schedule.
* BURBERRY: Britain’s Burberry said it had seen an “exceptional response” to the creative vision of its new designer Riccardo Tisci as it reported a slight dip in first-half revenue and operating profit as it continues to reposition the brand.
* INCHCAPE: Car dealership chain Inchcape posted a 2 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to 2.28 billion pounds ($3 billion) at constant currency and said it expected to report a “resilient” profit performance for the full year.
* COCA-COLA HBC: Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola HBC reported slightly higher-than-expected quarterly revenue growth on Thursday, driven by higher volumes.
* BEAZLEY: Lloyds Of London insurer Beazley Plc reported an 11.1 percent rise in gross written premiums for the first nine months of the year, helped by growth across all its divisions.
* 3I INFRASTRUCTURE: British fund 3i Infrastructure on Thursday posted a total return of 157 million pounds ($206 million) in the six months to 30 September, up from 121 million pounds in the same period in 2017.
* TATE & LYLE: British food ingredients maker Tate & Lyle posted flat profit growth for the first half of fiscal year as higher costs squeezed margins although it maintained its full-year outlook.
* OneSavings Bank: OneSavings Bank Plc raised its full-year net loan book growth guidance to about 20 percent on Thursday, helped by its focus on bigger, professional landlords and a strong pipeline for the final quarter.
* HALFORDS: British bicycles-to-car-parts retailer Halfords Group Plc HFD.L reported a 17.1 percent fall in first-half underlying pretax profit, hurt by higher operating costs and a challenging consumer environment.
* SUPERDRY: British fashion group Superdry Plc said it was yet to see a sustained period of normal weather conditions, a month after an unusually hot summer forced the company to warn on annual profit.
* NATIONAL GRID: Electricity and gas utility company National Grid Plc reported a 6 percent fall in half-yearly underlying operating profit on Thursday, hurt in part by lower profit from its U.S. units where a string of storms raised costs.
* RYANAIR: Ryanair Holdings Plc, and long-time Chief Executive Michael O’Leary have been sued in New York by a shareholder that said Europe’s largest airline defrauded investors and inflated its share price by overstating its ability to manage labor relations and keep costs down.
* BHP: Global miner BHP Billiton will meet its iron ore commitments to customers despite a supply disruption after it had to derail a runaway ore train in Western Australia, Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said on Thursday.
* EX-DIVS: BP and Whitbread will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 6.2 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Thursday as record U.S. crude output heightened concerns of a return of global oversupply, stoking talk from within OPEC that production curbs may become necessary once again to prevent a glut.
* GOLD: Gold prices inched lower on Thursday on the back of a stronger dollar as investors digested the U.S. midterm election results and turned their focus to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision due later in the day.
* The UK blue chip index closed 1.1 percent higher at 7,117.28 points on Wednesday, as UK shares joined a post-U.S. midterms rally with strong gains across sectors despite disappointing trading updates from retailer Marks & Spencer and commercial broadcaster ITV.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Siju Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)