(adds futures, companies items)
Sept 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 0.9 percent on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 1 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 1 percent on Thursday at 6,919.42, boosted by heavyweight oil companies after a decision by OPEC to curb output for the first time since 2008.
* AIRBUS: Airbus Group said on Friday it would merge with its planemaking unit, strip out bureaucracy and simplify its brand, marking a break with its complex corporate roots as it prepares for tougher expected competition.
* AXA/ALLIANZ: AXA and Allianz SE have advanced to the second stage of bidding for a Standard Chartered STAN.L distribution deal that would enable sale of general insurance products through the bank’s Asian branches, people familiar with the matter said.
* IG GROUP: Online trading company IG Group Holdings Plc said it had agreed to buy news and research portal DailyFX and its associated assets from U.S. retail broker FXCM Inc FXCM.N for $40 million.
* SPEEDY HIRE: Industrial tools and equipment rental company Speedy Hire sees half yearly pretax profit ahead of the company’s expectations, helped by job cuts.
* GULF KEYSTONE: Gulf Keystone Petroleum, one of the foreign oil firms present in Iraqi Kursdistan, has received a long-awaited $15 million payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for oil sales in July, the company said on Thursday.
* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell plans to invest $300 million a year in Argentina through 2020 in exploration as well as refining, distribution and marketing, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
* RBS: Royal Bank of Scotland announced on Friday a sweeping overhaul of its structure and banking brands as it outlined plans to separate its retail operations from riskier parts of its business by 2019.
Deutsche Bank AG, UBS Group AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are looking at selling their minority stakes in bond and derivatives trading system Tradeweb Markets LLC, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. bloom.bg/2dhojGR
* JOHN LEWIS: British department store chain John Lewis will have to appoint a new leader after Managing Director Andy Street was chosen by the ruling Conservative Party as its candidate for mayor of the West Midlands in central England.
* BRITISH STEEL: British Steel has returned to profit in its first 100 days of trading after being spun off as a loss-making division in April by India’s Tata Steel after it decided to exit the troubled British steel sector.
* HINKLEY POINT: A $24-billion deal to build Britain’s first new nuclear power station in decades was signed behind closed doors in London on Thursday in a private ceremony that underlined Prime Minister Theresa May’s cautious approach to the Franco-Chinese project.
* NUCLEAR PLANT: China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) expects its plans for a new China-led nuclear power plant in Britain to win government approval within five years, the firm’s chairman said in comments reported by state media late on Thursday.
* BREXIT: Nissan, which builds around a third of Britain’s total car output at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England, wants Britain to pledge compensation for any tax barriers resulting from its decision to leave the European Union, or the Japanese automaker could scrap a potential new investment in the country’s biggest car plant, its CEO said on Thursday.
* BREXIT: Britain will have no choice but to stick with European Union banking laws when it leaves the bloc to avoid blowing a “huge hole” in its regulatory system, a financial industry lobbyist said on Thursday.
* EQUITY DEALS: Global equity fundraising rose in the third quarter, Thomson Reuters data showed on Friday, but failed to make up for the sharp slowdown of the first half of 2016, when volatile markets deterred listings.
* UK CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: British consumer morale rocketed back to pre-Brexit levels in September, a survey found, confounding expectations that the vote to leave the EU would wreak more lasting damage on Briton’s willingness to spend.
* OIL: Oil prices dropped on Friday as investors took profits following a 7-percent rise in the last two sessions, amid doubts that OPEC’s first planned output cut in eight years would make a substantial dent in the global crude glut.
* HOUSING: British house prices rose more slowly in September than in August, according to figures from mortgage lender Nationwide, adding to signs of a cooling in the housing market after voters decided in June to leave the European Union.
* METALS: Lead and tin steadied near multi-month highs on Friday and were heading for their biggest quarterly gains in at least three years, bolstered by tighter supply and falling inventories.
* 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 Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Sunil Nair)