(Adds futures, updates news items)
Dec 19 - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 14 points higher at 7,555 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down about 0.1% ahead of the cash market open.
* THOMAS COOK: Britain’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has added an extra year to its investigation into accountant EY’s audit of Thomas Cook, the holiday company that collapsed in September leaving tens of thousands of people stranded abroad.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND: Royal Bank of Scotland has cleared out the top management team at its under-performing investment bank NatWest Markets, in one of the first moves to shake up the state-backed bank’s executive team by new Chief Executive Alison Rose.
* CENTAMIN PLC: Canada’s Endeavour Mining Corp urged Centamin Plc to seek an extension for a deadline by which it needs to make a firm offer to buy the London-listed miner.
* STOCK SPIRITS: Western Gate Private Investments, second-largest investor in Stock Spirits, urged the vodka maker for a special dividend and a review of the company’s capital allocation, mergers and acquisitions, and dividend policy.
* WOODFORD: Veteran British money manager Neil Woodford is now looking to expand his presence in China, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, months after he was forced to suspend his flagship equity fund.
* ANTOFAGASTA: Chile’s Antofagasta said it had kicked off the environmental permitting process for its $1.7 billion Twin Metals copper, nickel and platinum mining project in the United States after the Trump administration overturned an Obama-era decision to protect a nearby wilderness area.
* HSBC: The banking arm of French mail operator La Poste is exploring a bid for HSBC France’s retail activities as part of its diversification efforts, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
* IAG: British Airways’ parent company IAG urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his new government on Wednesday to conduct an independent assessment into Heathrow airport expansion plans.
* BANKS: Bank of England Deputy Governor Sam Woods said on Wednesday he would meet banks in the first quarter of 2020 to check on whether regulations are hampering their ability to ditch the use of the Libor interest rate benchmark.
* EX-DIVS: Burberry and United Utilities will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out, trimming 0.6 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations
* The UK blue-chip index added 0.2% on its sixth day of gains on Wednesday, its longest winning streak since June. The index outperformed European peers thanks to gains in exporter stocks, which benefited from a weaker pound and helped overpower losses in domestically-exposed housebuilders.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru)