LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat near a 14-1/2-year high on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index are also flat at 0635 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index briefly hit 6,898.62 points on Wednesday, its highest level since early 2000, before closing 0.7 percent higher at 6,873.58 points.
* STANDARD LIFE - Manulife Financial Corp said on Wednesday it has agreed to acquire the Canadian operations of Standard Life for about C$4 billion ($3.7 billion) in cash, in a deal that significantly expands the insurer’s presence in Quebec.
* Investors focus will be on a policy meeting of the European Central Bank, which faces intense market pressure to take policy action and risks losing credibility if it fails to back up a dovish message delivered by President Mario Draghi late last month.
* The Bank of England is also scheduled to have a policy meeting later in the day.
* CENTRICA - The company said its EPS in 2014 was now expected to reduce by between 0.6 and 0.9 pence per share.
* EASYJET - The company said its August passenger numbers rose 8.4 percent.
* Insurer Direct Line and electronics goods retailer Dixons Carphone - formed by a merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse - are to be promoted into Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 equity index.
* EDF Energy said on Thursday it expects two of its nuclear power stations in Britain, currently offline for inspections, will be brought back to service between the end of October and end of December.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - British building group Balfour Beatty BALF.L said it would return up to 200 million pounds ($329 million) to shareholders and reduce its pension fund deficit after agreeing to sell its Parsons Brinckerhoff business for almost $1.24 billion.
* A decision by Scotland to vote in favour of independence from the United Kingdom could have serious consequences for the Scottish and UK economies, Goldman Sachs said in a research note on Wednesday.
* Brent crude slipped towards $102 a barrel, reversing some of the sharp overnight gains, as U.S. industry data showed fuel stocks rose last week and raised fresh doubts about the strength of demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer.
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Reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Blaise Robinson