Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 39 points, or 0.6 percent higher, on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures on the index firming 0.5 percent ahead of the market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The FTSE 100 closed 27.16 points higher on Monday at 6,276.94, as Britain’s top share index halted a three-day slide, with buyers taking advantage of beaten-down prices to place bets on possible takeover targets and pile into defensive shares.
* China’s annual consumer inflation cooled in March as food prices eased from nine-month highs and producer price deflation deepened, data showed on Tuesday, leaving policymakers room to keep monetary conditions easy and nurture a nascent recovery, potentially helping Britain’s globally exposed mining stocks.
* Britain’s housing market appears to be picking up due to help from a Bank of England lending scheme, with house sales at their highest level in three years and prices broadly stable, a monthly survey showed on Tuesday.
* MINERS - U.S. aluminium group Alcoa, viewed as a bellwether for the materials sector, was the first of the S&P 500 companies to report first-quarter results, posting better-than-expected quarterly profit after the Wall Street’s closing bell on Monday.
* RBS - Two hedge funds which made millions of pounds shorting UK bank shares during the 2008 financial crisis are in talks to back a 1-billion-pound ($1.53 billion) bid for more than 300 Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc RBS.L branches, Sky News reported.
* RIO TINTO - A row over demands by Rio Tinto for cheaper electricity to help keep its New Zealand aluminium smelter afloat is clouding government efforts to raise up to NZ$6.1 billion ($5.1 billion) by privatising the country’s power companies.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL <RDSa.L - Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. subsidiary on Monday boosted the estimate of how much crude oil was released by a leak from its West Columbia pipeline in east Houston, the company said. Shell Oil Co. said 940 barrels of crude are estimated to have leaked, having previously estimated a release of 700 barrels of crude.
* TELECOMS AND MEDIA - Telecoms giant BT could force BSkyB to carry adverts for its new rival sports channels, as the battle between the two media behemoths intensifies, the Telegraph reports.
* ICAP - ICAP is implicated in an investigation by the top U.S. derivatives regulator into a widely used benchmark for swaps, the trade body overseeing the rate said, dealing a further blow to the market after the sprawling Libor probe. ICAP rejected the allegations over the benchmark ISDAfix.
* JOHN WOOD GROUP - The energy services firm announced that it has extended its North Sea contract with France’s Total.
* VEDANTA - Cairn India, which is majority-owned by Vedanta, said on Tuesday it has made a new oil discovery in its Rajasthan Block.
* TULLOW OIL - Tullow oil sold its Bangladesh unit to KrisEnergy for $42 million.
* FERREXPO - Ferrexpo said on Tuesday its pellet production is up 10 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.
* JKX OIL AND GAS - The oil firm announced a fall in operating profit to $51 million versus $82 million last year.
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit* BridgeStation: view story .134(Reporting by Alistair Smout)