Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 3 points higher at 6,048 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. * HSBC: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday renewed criticism of British bank HSBC for its reported treatment of customers linked with the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, saying China was "bullying" the United Kingdom. * CAR PRODUCTION: British car production rose sharply in July but is still well below last year's level after manufacturing almost completely stopped in April at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, industry figures showed on Thursday. * JOBS: Britain's services firms haemorrhaged jobs in the three months to August, a survey showed in the latest sign of mounting unemployment as the government's coronavirus job protection scheme is wound down. * NICKEL: Nickel prices hit their highest since November on Friday, fueled by solid demand from the stainless steel sector and concerns over supply from top producer Indonesia. * GOLD: Gold prices fell on Thursday, following a sharp rise in the previous session, as investors squared positions ahead of a much-awaited speech from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. * OIL: Oil prices were in a holding pattern on Thursday as a massive storm in the Gulf of Mexico raced towards the heart of the U.S. oil industry, forcing oil rigs and refineries to shut, with little impact expected on supply as oil stockpiles remain high. * The UK blue-chip index closed up just 0.1%, struggling to build on a strong start to the week as more signs of a sluggish economic rebound overshadowed optimism around COVID-19 vaccines and U.S.-China trade. * UK CORPORATE DIARY: Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC Half Year 2020 Earnings WPP PLC Half Year 2020 Earnings Hays PLC Full Year 2020 Earnings Diploma PLC Q3 Trading Statement Hunting PLC Half Year 2020 Earnings * For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: TODAY'S UK PAPERS > Financial Times > Other business headlines (Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru)
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