(Adds company news items and futures)
April 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 6 points higher at 7,323 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.12 pct ahead of the cash market open.
* UNILEVER: Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant, reported first-quarter sales that met expectations, helped by volume gains, and maintained its full-year outlook.
* SKY: Sky, the European pay TV company at the centre of a bidding battle between Fox/Disney and Comcast, said it had added 38,000 new customers in its third-quarter, helping keep it on track for the year.
* DEBENHAMS: British department store group Debenhams on Thursday warned on the full-year outlook for the second time in four months and cut its dividend as it reported a 52 percent slump in first-half profit.
* ULTRA ELECTRONICS: British defence contractor Ultra Electronics said the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had opened a criminal investigation into “suspected corruption in the conduct of business” by it in Algeria.
* ACACIA MINING: Acacia Mining on Thursday posted a fall in first quarter earnings after reducing operations at its flagship gold mine but stuck to its full-year production and costs targets.
* WEIR GROUP: Weir Group Plc, which makes pumps and valves for mining and energy industries, said it would buy U.S.-based ESCO Corp, a maker of mining equipment parts, for an equity value of $1.05 billion.
* BRITAIN FCA: Britain’s financial regulator on Thursday published a letter to issuers of listed irredeemable preference shares, urging them to ensure their investors have all information necessary to properly assess the risks and rewards attached to such shares.
* BHP BILLITON: BHP Billiton cut its 2018 fiscal year iron ore output guidance on Thursday citing issues in its railroad car unloading system, while also slightly raising its copper output expectations given higher production at the Escondida mine.
* ASTRAZENECA: U.S. regulators have expanded use of AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug Tagrisso to include initial treatment of patients with a specific genetic mutation, the company said on Wednesday.
* GSK: Two medical experts have urged caution in using a new three-in-one inhaler for chronic lung disease from GlaxoSmithKline, which the company hopes will help it keep its lead in respiratory medicine despite rising competition.
* GOLD: Gold prices rose for a fourth straight session helped by a rally in base metals that has fuelled concerns of inflationary pressures, with lingering U.S.-China trade tensions lending further support to the yellow metal.
* OIL: Oil prices rose on Thursday to their highest since the end of 2014 as U.S. crude inventories declined and as top exporter Saudi Arabia pushes for higher prices by continuing to withhold supplies.
* EX-DIVS: BAE Systems, Barratt Development, Croda , Informa, Lloyds Banking Group and Standard Life Aberdeen will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 9.79 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip FTSE 100 index rose 1.3 percent to 7,317.34 points on Wednesday, as surging mining stocks and a fall in the pound boosted the index, with metals prices climbing on supply concerns and data showing an unexpected dip in inflation.
* 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: * 3000 Xtra : visit http://topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : http://topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Siju Varghese)