(Adds company news items and futures)
May 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 9 points lower at 7,251 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, while FTSE 100 futures were down 0.20 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Provident Financial Plc’s third-biggest shareholder British asset manager Schroders Plc said on Wednesday it would not accept Non-Standard Finance Plc’s hostile takeover bid for the subprime lender.
* DIRECT LINE: Britain’s largest motor insurer Direct Line Insurance Group Plc on Wednesday reported a drop in gross written premiums for the first quarter as it continues to battle tough competition in the market.
* ITV: British broadcaster ITV reported a 4 percent drop in first-quarter revenue on Wednesday due to weaker advertising demand caused by the late timing of Easter and political and economic uncertainty.
* J D WETHERSPOON: Pub chain J D Wetherspoon Plc on Wednesday reported a 7.6 percent rise in comparable sales during the third quarter, with a 8.4 percent rise in total sales at its 900 odd pubs in Britain and Ireland.
* TRAVIS PERKINS: Travis Perkins, Britain’s largest distributor of building materials, on Wednesday reported a 7.3 percent increase in first quarter underlying sales which it said reflected improved customer service and a weak comparative number last year.
* ASTRAZENECA: British drugmaker AstraZeneca and Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo said on Wednesday their experimental treatment for breast cancer met its key goal in a mid-stage study, bolstering their defences in a highly competitive oncology market.
* SIG: SIG Plc said on Wednesday that like-for-like sales fell more than 9 percent in Britain for the first four months of the year, troubled by an increasingly challenging construction market.
* IMPERIAL BRANDS: British tobacco company Imperial Brands stood by its full-year forecast on Wednesday after reporting higher half-year sales in line with analysts’ estimates, helped by growth in its e-cigarettes business.
* GOLD: Gold prices rose to their highest in more than a week on Wednesday as renewed worries over U.S.-China trade dispute and its potential impact on global growth dented risk sentiment, stoking investors towards safe-haven assets.
* OIL: Oil prices rose on Wednesday as U.S. sanctions against crude exporters Iran and Venezuela as well as ongoing supply cuts by producers have left markets relatively tight just as crude imports to China rose to a record for April.
* The UK blue chip index slumped 1.6 percent on Tuesday as investors returned from a long weekend to a threat of more U.S. tariffs on China that triggered a selloff led by oil majors and banks.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru)