LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 7 to 9 points lower, or as much as 0.1 percent down, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.2 percent lower at 6,696.60 points in the previous session.
* Growth in China’s immense factory sector stalled in November, with output contracting for the first time in six months, a private survey showed, adding to signs that the world’s second-largest economy may still be losing traction.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP - The bank was fined 56 million pounds ($88 million) by Britain’s financial regulators for a system crash in 2012 that left millions of customers unable to make or receive payments.
* CENTRICA - Britain’s largest energy supplier said it expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to be lower than expected at 19-20 pence after mild weather hit energy demand and nuclear plants which it partly owns have been offline.
* BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL GROUP - British engineering and support services firm Babcock reaffirmed its full-year profit outlook and raised its dividend after it posted a 32 percent rise in underlying first half pretax profit on Thursday.
* JOHNSON MATTHEY - Catalysts maker Johnson Matthey posted on Thursday a small increase in half-year profits thanks to strong autocatalysts sales and lifted its profit forecast for the year.
* EX-DIVIDENDS - FTSE 100 companies going ex-dividend on Thursday include Carnival, National Grid, Sainsbury(J) and Vodafone Group . The effect of the resulting adjustment to prices by market-makers would take between 8.20 and 8.80 points off the index.
* BHP BILLITON - The global miner is confident of at least maintaining its dividend even at current weak commodity prices, shrugging off an iron ore price slide triggered by increased output by BHP and other mega producers.
* BHP Billiton said on Thursday it plans to hold a shareholder vote in May 2015 on its plan to spin off its aluminium, coal, manganese and silver assets into a separate company.
* Brent crude held above $78 a barrel as the market waited for news on possible cuts in oil output ahead of next week’s OPEC meeting.
* VODAFONE - The company would be open to selling off more non-core assets such as its interests in Australia, Hungary and the Czech Republic if it received the right offer, Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said on Wednesday.
* London nickel hit a five-week high on Thursday on expectations of a shortage of ore in China, as stainless steel makers run down their raw material stockpiles following an Indonesian ban on ore exports.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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