LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat to 3 points higher, according to financial bookmakers, with futures also indicating a flat open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 44.78 points higher, or 0.7 percent, on Thursday at 6,339.19, posting its highest close since May 2008 after miners rallied strongly, with sentiment supported by improving in U.S. housing data.
* Focus will be on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s statement after a two-day policy meeting, with investors looking for hints as to whether stimulus measures are still needed to help support the world’s biggest economy.
* BP - A U.S. judge accepted an agreement by the oil company to plead guilty for its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, drawing a line under federal suits against the firm but not civil or state cases.
* AGGREKO - The emergency energy provider fell in Thursday’s trade due to fears about a fresh profit warning, according to the Daily Mail’s market report. The rumours come less than two months since their last one wiped over 20 percent off their share price.
* IMPERIAL TOBACCO - Imperial Tobacco says it expects first half adjusted operating profit to be down year on year, despite posting a 2 percent rise in revenue in the last three months of 2012, with the company hit by black market competition in Europe.
* UNITED UTILITIES - The utilities company says its current trading is in line with its expectations and that the group is confident of delivering a good underlying financial performance.
* MOTHERCARE - The firm announces that Mothcare Australia has been placed into administration but says it does not change the overall view of international profitability.
* RENISHAW - The healthcare equipment firm announces an increase in pretax profit for H1 of 48 percent, with revenue rising 18 percent to 174.2 million pounds from 147.1 million.
* AFFERO - Affero says that the results of its Akonolinga exploration were positive, demonstrating potential at the fourth of the Company’s iron exploration permits.
* SAFESTORE - Andy Jones will replace Richard Hodsden as CFO of Safestore, it was announced, as the company reports in preliminary 2012 results that revenue rose 5.5 percent but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell 0.4 percent.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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