(Adds company news and futures)
Jan 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 9 points lower at 7,722.5 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.15 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* PREMIER OIL: Premier Oil said on Wednesday its first export cargo of oil from its flagship Catcher field was lifted on Tuesday and sold at a premium to globally traded Brent crude LCoc1.
* CREST NICHOLSON: British housebuilder Crest Nicholson said on Wednesday it appointed Patrick Bergin as chief executive and that its full-year pretax profit rose 6 percent.
* WH SMITH: WH Smith Plc, a seller of books, newspaper and stationery, reported that sales during the 20 weeks to Jan. 20 were flat compared with a year earlier as gains from its travel shops were offset by a cooling high street business.
* PURPLEBRICKS: Online estate agent Purplebricks Group Plc said it planned to launch in New York in the second quarter of 2018, expanding further in the U.S. market, having built a leading position in a fragmented industry at home.
* JD WETHERSPOON: British pubs group JD Wetherspoon reported strong comparable sales in the Christmas period and said year-to-date underlying pretax profit was slightly ahead of its expectations.
* COUNTRYWIDE: Countrywide, Britain’s biggest lettings and estate agency firm, said Chief Executive Officer Alison Platt had stepped down, a week after the company warned on full-year group income after a disappointing fourth quarter.
* TESCO: Tesco Plc has poached Ulster Bank Chief Executive Gerry Mallon to run the financial services arm of Britain’s biggest retailer, Sky News reported on Tuesday.
* RIO TINTO: The top U.S. securities regulator on Tuesday rejected arguments by Rio Tinto Plc and two former top executives that its civil lawsuit claiming they concealed the plunging value of coal assets owned by the big Anglo-Australian mining company should be dismissed.
* RBS: Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc will leave its current London headquarters by the end of 2019 in a cost-cutting move, it said on Tuesday.
* BARCLAYS TRADER BAN: The Federal Reserve announced Tuesday it had rejected a motion to void a $1.2 million fine and industry ban on a former Barclays Plc trader.
* PETROPAVLOVSK: Kazakh businessman Kenges Rakishev, who owns just over a fifth of Russian miner Petropavlovsk, said the company should sell its 31.1 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed iron ore company IRC 1029.HK to focus exclusively on gold.
* BOEING/ROLLS-ROYCE: Boeing Co has still to complete flight tests on the newly certified 787-10 Dreamliner with General Electric Co engines, but has finished tests with Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC engines, a Boeing executive said on Tuesday.
* BRITAIN MOTOR INSURANCE: The average premium paid for motor insurance in Britain jumped 9 percent in 2017 to the highest level since 2012, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said on Wednesday.
* OIL: Brent crude oil futures were at $69.83 a barrel at 0517 GMT, down 13 cents from their last close, weighed down by data that showed an increase in U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.21 percent higher on Tuesday with gains in airline easyJet following a trading update drove Britain’s top share index higher, while Sky was in focus after the competition watchdog suggested ways that could make a Fox takeover acceptable.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru)