(Adds futures, company news items)
Jan 4 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up 18 points on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.20 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index ended 0.5 percent higher at 7,177.89 points on Tuesday as the London Stock Exchange reopened after a long weekend. It set a record high of 7,205.45, rising above the peak reached at the end of 2016 after a 5.3 percent rally in December, its strongest monthly performance since July 2013.
* NEXT: British clothing retailer Next on Wednesday cut profit guidance for its current financial year and also warned on the outlook for the following year, saying it is preparing the company for tougher times.
* ICAG: British Airways cabin crew plan to hold a 48-hour strike starting on Jan. 10, after suspending previous plans to walk out over Christmas, trade union Unite said on Tuesday.
* B&M: Britain’s B&M European Value Retail said it saw strong trading in its peak Christmas period, helping UK like-for-like sales rise 7.2 percent in its third quarter.
* MASTERCARD/CMA: Britain’s competition watchdog said it has concerns with MasterCard Inc’s acquisition of payment processing company VocaLink Holdings.
* VEDANTA RESOURCES: Zambian workers have downed tools at a mine and copper processing plant belonging to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of Vedanta Resources, in a dispute over the pace of wage talks, a union official said on Wednesday.
* ECB/BANKS: Proposed leveraged lending guidelines from the European Central Bank could force riskier lending into unregulated channels and create unintended opportunities for arbitrage as well as breed market distortion.
* BRITAIN INFLATION: Prices in British shops fell last month by the smallest margin since mid-2015, in a further sign that rising costs linked to June’s Brexit vote are feeding into high street prices, an industry survey showed on Wednesday.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)