LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 2 to 3 points lower, or down 0.04 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.95 percent higher at 6,742.84 points on Friday.
* BP - The company is to axe middle managers and could freeze projects as it grapples with the plummeting oil price, The Sunday Times reported, citing finance director Brian Gilvary.
* INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP - IHG, one of the world’s largest hoteliers, said it had agreed to sell its Paris-Le Grand hotel for 330 million euros ($405 million) to Constellation Hotels.
* RIO TINTO - The miner declined to comment on Monday on whether it would be willing to settle a lawsuit it brought against Brazil’s Vale SA over valuable iron ore concessions in Guinea.
* BHP BILLITON - A planned spin-off of businesses by global miner BHP Billiton will be called South32 when it seeks multiple stock listings next year, BHP said on Monday.
* SAINSBURY‘S - UK activist investment fund Crystal Amber is in talks with several overseas investors about buying shares in Sainsbury‘s, as part of a plan to shake up the food retailer that could cause a takeover bid to be made, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said.
* MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP - The company has had to delay deliveries of online orders by up to two weeks and withdraw next-day delivery services to stores after being beset by problems at the busiest shopping time of the year, The Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday.
* ESURE GROUP - The motor insurer said it had conditionally agreed to buy the remaining 50 percent of Gocompare.com Holdings Ltd for 95 million pounds ($147.81 million), raising its holding in the price comparison website to 100 percent.
* British consumer spending grew strongly in November after many big retailers adopted U.S.-style “Black Friday” promotions, payments company Visa Europe said on Monday, suggesting spending for 2014 as a whole may rise at its fastest rate since 2010.
* PREMIER FOODS - The British maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy has backed down in a row over suppliers having to make cash payments to retain contracts, saying it would make changes to its policy.
* Oil prices fell more than a dollar at one stage on Monday after Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for Brent crude, approaching a five-year low hit early this month, and the market got little support from mixed Chinese trade data.
* China’s imports shrank unexpectedly in November while export growth slowed, fueling concerns the world’s second-largest economy could be facing a sharper slowdown and adding pressure on policymakers to ramp up stimulus measures.
* London copper was steady on Monday and holding above last week’s four-and-a-half-year lows, with expectations of further stimulus from China supporting prices after trade data was weaker than expected.
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