* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 11-12 points, or 0.2 percent higher on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Britain's top share index raced through the 6,000 level for the first time in 17 months on Wednesday boosted by a last-minute budget deal in the United States and solid global PMI data.
* Miners could see more gains after growth in China's increasingly important services sector accelerated in December at its fastest pace in four months, adding to signs of a modest year-end revival in the world's second-largest economy.
* After a steady slew of robust global factory PMI data on Wednesday, the UK is relatively quiet on the macro economic data front with just the Markit CIPS Construction PMIs due out at 0928 with analysts expecting the figure to remain in contraction territory.
* British house prices edged lower in December, prolonging stagnation in the market, and a pick-up in the new year is unlikely, data from mortgage lender Nationwide showed on Thursday.
* In the U.S. investors will keep a keen eye on jobs data out at 1330 GMT trying to gain some perspective of the health of the jobs market ahead of the important non-farm payrolls scheduled for release on Friday.
* INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES : Spanish airline Iberia said on Wednesday it has reached a preliminary agreement with pilots over plans to restructure the loss-making airline by laying off staff and cutting salaries.
* WPP : The advertising firm acquired a 20 percent stake in Globant costing approximately $70 million.
* NEXT < NXT.L >: Britain's No.2 clothing retailer nudged its full-year profit forecast higher on Thursday as it posted a rise in fourth quarter sales. [ ID:nWLA7241]
* CHEMRING : The British military equipment maker a nnounces the appointment of Steve Bowers as group f i nance director [ID:n WLA7240].
* BALFOUR BEATTY : The c onstruction firm acquires U . S . energy storage business Subsurface Group to expand Parson Brinckerhoff's energy storage services Business, which is forecast to generate approximately $50 million of re v enue in 2012. [ ID:nASN0001BI]
* JOHN MENZIES : In a trading update , the aviation firm says full-year results will be in line with its expectations, but a series of restructuring actions across both divisions will see the company incur a full-year exceptional charge of around 18 million pounds.[ID :nWLA7239]
W ILLIAM S INCLAIR < SNCL.L >: The British gardening supplies group sees annual profit before tax and exceptional items slump to 0.3 million pounds from 3.2 m illion pounds in 2011.
> Financial Times
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