LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - * Britain’s FTSE 100 index was seen opening 23-26 points, or 0.4 percent, higher on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers. Futures for the index were up 34 points, or 0.6 percent, at 5,985.50 by 0722 GMT.
* Factors affecting European equity markets:
* London’s blue-chip index closed up 63.16 points, or 1.1 percent, at 5,955.91 on Tuesday. Volumes on the FTSE 100 was 83 percent of the 90-day average.
* Companies going ex-dividend were expected to take around 6.86 points off the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, with the most impact coming from HSBC.
* Wednesday’s diary includes February unemployment data at 0930 GMT and U.S. trade numbers at 1230 GMT.
* Japan’s Nikkei average climbed 1.5 percent overnight to close above 10,000 for the first time in seven months, while the U.S. stock market posted its best day this year.
* Brent crude steadied above $126, in sight of 11-month highs, as expectations for a build in U.S. crude inventories offset improving economic sentiment in the world’s top oil consumer. Copper prices also steadied.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve, as expected, offered few clues on the prospects for further monetary easing and slightly upgraded its economic outlook. It also said most large U.S. banks passed their annual stress tests, underscoring recovery in the sector.
* LEGAL & GENERAL reports a 5.3 percent rise in profit and lifts full-year dividend to 6.4 pence.
* XSTRATA has sold a stake in its burgeoning Canadian coking coal operations to JX Nippon, forming a joint venture with the Japanese oil refiner to build the business and market the coal in Japan.
* SCHRODERS is in talks to acquire an almost 30 percent stake in Indian group Axis Asset Management in a deal worth around 1.3 billion rupees ($26 million), two Indian newspapers reported citing unnamed sources.
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