(Refiles to drop item on ex-dividend stocks)
Jan 5 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat to 4
points higher, or up as much as 0.06 percent, on Thursday, according to
* The UK blue chip index closed slightly firmer at 0.17 percent higher at
7,189.74 points, near a record high, on Wednesday as a rally in housebuilders
was offset by a slump in retailers after Next issued a profit warning.
* BARCLAYS: A former Barclays Plc trader pleaded guilty on
Wednesday to U.S. charges arising from a global investigation into the
manipulation of foreign-exchange prices at major banks, the U.S. Department of
* BHP BILLITON: Workers at BHP Billiton-owned Escondida, the
world's biggest copper mine, could go on strike in February if collective
contract talks with the company are unsuccessful, union spokesman Carlos Allende
told Reuters on Wednesday.
* GLENCORE: Russian state holding company Rosneftegaz closed a deal with the
Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and commodities trader Glencore to
sell a 19.5 percent stake in state-owned oil major Rosneft, Rosneft
said on Wednesday.
* UK ECONOMY: Britain's economy retained its momentum through the final
months of 2016, but inflation pressures mounted at the fastest pace since
records began almost 20 years ago, a major business survey showed on Thursday.
* UK CAR SALES: British new car sales hit a record of 2.7 million units in
2016 despite fears that the Brexit vote could hit demand, although there are
signs that registrations will fall this year, preliminary industry data showed
* UK IMMIGRATION: Britain should look at introducing a regionally based
immigration system in which visas could be issued for specific areas of the
country, a parliamentary committee said in a report on Thursday.
* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Thursday on doubts producers would fully deliver
on promises to cut output, although record U.S. automobile sales and falling
crude stocks offered markets some support.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
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(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)