(Adds company news items and futures)
Jan 17 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 24 points lower at 6,839 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with FTSE 100 futures down 0.49 percent ahead of the cash market open. * WHITBREAD: British hotel owner Whitbread Plc on Thursday reported a 2.4 percent increase in third-quarter sales and expects 2019 results to be in-line with expectations, as the expansion of its Premier Inn chain pays off. * SAGE: British software company Sage said it had made a strong start to its financial year after its organic service revenue for the three months to end-December rose 7.6 percent to 465 million pounds ($598.5 million). * GVC HOLDING: Bookmaker GVC Holdings Plc said on Thursday it expects full-year underlying core earnings to be ahead of market consensus, boosted by strong growth in its online business. * PREMIER FOODS: Premier Foods Plc, the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy, on Thursday named Finance Chief Alastair Murray as acting chief executive officer, as it looks for a permanent replacement for ousted boss Gavin Darby. * BEAZLEY: Lloyds of London insurer Beazley Plc on Thursday named Sally Lake as its finance director, replacing Martin Bride. Bride, who has been with the company since 2009, will step down in May, Beazley said. * EXPERIAN: Experian Plc reported a 5 percent rise in third-quarter revenue on Thursday, as more banks and businesses in North America hired the world’s biggest credit data company. * ASSOCIATED BRITISH: Primark owner Associated British Foods maintained its full-year earnings guidance on Thursday, reporting revenue growth in the Christmas quarter in all of its businesses apart from sugar.
* PATISSERIE: British cafe chain owner Patisserie Holdings Plc said on Wednesday that it hired global consulting firm KPMG to assess options as it tries recover from an accounting scandal that cast doubt on the company’s future. * GOLD: Palladium rose to a record high on Thursday on lower supply and increasing demand for the metal used in auto catalysts, while a firmer dollar offset expectations of a pause in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking cycle, keeping gold steady.
* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Thursday as U.S. crude production quickly approached an unprecedented 12 million barrels per day (bpd) just as worries about weakening demand emerge.
* EX-DIVS: Ashtead Group, Compass Group and SSE Plc will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 2.9 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.47 percent lower at 6862.68 on Wednesday, as a stronger pound lured investors toward cheap domestic companies and away from exporters after Prime Minister Theresa May’s heavy Brexit defeat, while weak results weighed on Pearson.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Adil Bhat)