(Adds company news item, updates futures)
March 9 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 21
points at 7,314 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures
down 0.5 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell most of its Canadian
oil sands assets for $7.25 billion to Canadian Natural, the company
said on Thursday.
* BT GROUP-RIO TINTO: Britain's <BT BT.L> has appointed Jan du Plessis,
chairman of miner Rio Tinto , as its next chairman, taking over
from Mike Rake who has led the telecoms group for 10 years.
* AVIVA: British insurer Aviva on Thursday posted a 12 percent
increase in full-year operating profit to 3 billion pounds ($3.65 billion),
boosted by growth in its fund arm, Aviva Investors, as well as its British,
Canadian and Irish units.
* OLD MUTUAL: Anglo-South African financial services group Old Mutual
reported a slightly above-forecast 2016 adjusted operating profit of
1.67 billion pounds on Thursday, up 1 percent from a year earlier, as it
prepares to slice itself into four parts.
* COUNTRYWIDE: Countrywide reported a 59 percent fall in 2016 profit
as Britain's largest estate agency by revenue said a property tax increase and
Britain's vote to leave the European Union last year made it a challenging year
for the company.
* DOMINO'S PIZZA: Britain's biggest pizza delivery firm Domino's Pizza
said full-year operating profit rose 17.1 percent as online and mobile
* BHP Billiton: BHP Billiton may try to restart production
at the world's No.1 copper mine Escondida in Chile using temporary workers once
the strike surpasses 30 days, the company told a local radio station on
* BRITAIN-BUDGET: Britain's 2017 budget gave some meagre support on
Wednesday to domestic stock and currency markets suffering from nerves over its
plans to leave the European Union and the fallout for increasingly hard-pressed
* BREXIT: Britain's economy is likely to feel the pain of Brexit more
sharply in the coming years despite holding up well so far, according to finance
minister Philip Hammond's latest plan to steer the economy through its split
from the European Union.
* BRITAIN-BONDS: Gilt yields hit a two-week high after Britain said it
planned to sell more government bonds than the market had expected, despite
finance minister Philip Hammond largely sticking to existing fiscal plans in
Wednesday's annual Budget.
* OIL: Oil prices climbed on Thursday after sharp losses the session before,
buoyed by strong compliance with touted international production cuts, although
a surge in U.S. crude inventories continued to drag.
* GOLD: Gold prices inched down to the lowest level in five weeks on
Thursday, pressured by an uptick in the dollar ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls
data on Friday.
* EX-DIVS: BHP Billiton, CRH, Hargreaves Lansdown,
Land Securities Group, Persimmon and Shire will trade
without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 5.36
points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations.
* The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed 0.06 percent lower on Wednesday, as
Britain's budget statement delivered few surprises, although builders got a
small boost from reassuring comments on infrastructure spending.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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(Reporting by Siju Varghese; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)