(Updates futures, adds company news items)
Dec 17 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 69 points, or 1.14 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, futures up 1.6 percent by 0750 GMT ahead of the cash market open. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 43.40 points, or 0.7 percent, at 6,061.19 points, boosted by rises in Dixons Carphone and Pearson, with investors hoping that an expected rise in U.S. interest rates later would calm volatile markets.
* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca said it had agreed to buy a 55 percent stake in privately held biotech firm Acerta Pharma for $4.0 billion to give it access to a new kind of drug for fighting blood cancers.
* LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: London Stock Exchange Group reported a 4 percent rise in exchange traded funds benchmarked to FTSE Russell for the first eleven months of the year, but new issues on the company’s markets fell.
* STANDARD CHARTERED: Temasek is willing to give Standard Chartered time to work on its turnaround before deciding on the fate of its underperforming $4 billion stake in the UK bank as part of a portfolio reshuffle, people familiar with the matter said.
* SHELL/BG: Royal Dutch Shell’s takeover of BG Group may look less attractive after the slide in oil prices but the fact that the same investors own nearly half of both firms means the deal is still likely to go through.
* EX-DIVS: Berkeley Group, United Utilities will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.83 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations
* APR ENERGY: APR Energy Plc’s board urged shareholders to back a 165 million pound ($253 million) buyout offer made by a consortium including its biggest shareholder, as the power plant supplier continues to operate in a precarious financial situation.
* UK SOLAR SUPPORT: The British government reduced financial support for domestic-scale solar power to 4.39 pence per kilowatt hour on Thursday and limited new spending on its feed-in-tariff (FiT) scheme at 100 million pounds ($150 million).
* UK CAR PRODUCTION: British car production rose 9 percent year-on-year in November, helped by a strong increase in exports, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Thursday.
* AUSTRALIA TAX: Australian tax authorities on Thursday took the unprecedented step of publishing the records of hundreds of companies, including BAE Systems Plc and beer giant SABMiller Plc, which show they paid little or no tax on their in-country earnings.
* EU REFERENDUM: Prime Minister David Cameron will try to end an impasse at talks with European Union leaders on Thursday over his attempts to win better membership terms for Britain before it votes on whether to stay in the bloc.
* U.S. RATE HIKE: The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade on Wednesday, signaling faith that the U.S. economy had largely overcome the wounds of the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru)