(Adds company news items and futures)
Nov 23 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 17 points at 7,401.9 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 down 0.3 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* PARAGON BANKING: Paragon Banking Group posted a slim 1.1 percent rise in full-year pretax profit, helped by lending growth across its business.
* CMC MARKETS: British financial spreadbetting firm CMC Markets Plc reported a 58 percent jump in first-half profit, as increased client trading helped offset challenges from a sector-wide regulatory clampdown and lower levels of volatility.
* MAJESTIC WINE: Britain’s Majestic Wine Plc said its half-year adjusted pretax profit rose to 6.8 million pounds ($9.1 million)as its Naked Wines unit registered a profit in all three geographies.
* MITCHELLS & BUTLERS: British pub operator Mitchells & Butlers said on Thursday its annual comparable store sales improved 1.8 percent, as food and drink sales remained robust, despite inflationary cost pressures.
* SEVERN TRENT: British water utility Severn Trent Plc reported a 4.4 percent rise in half-year profit, and more than doubled the incentives it expects to get from water industry regulator Ofwat.
* CENTRICA: Centrica, owner of Britain’s largest energy supplier British Gas, lost 823,000 accounts in the four months from the end of June to the end of October, but remains on track to meet its 2017 targets, it said on Thursday.
* RBS: Britain will reprivatise bailed-out lender Royal Bank of Scotland by selling 15 billion pounds ($20 billion) of shares, according to budget documents released on Wednesday, in a boost to finance minister Philip Hammond’s coffers.
* CMC MARKETS: CMC Markets chairman Simon Waugh is to step down two years after its London flotation, Sky News reported on Wednesday.
* BRITAIN-AIRLINES: Britain’s aviation industry on Wednesday criticised changes to a tax on air passengers which will freeze the duty for a majority of customers, saying they did not go far enough to keep Britain competitive as Brexit approaches.
* BRITAIN-INFLATION: The British public’s expectations for inflation over the next 12 months dropped to 2.6 percent this month from October’s four-year high of 2.8 percent, a monthly survey by polling company YouGov showed on Wednesday.
* GOLD: Gold prices nudged lower on Thursday, with investors taking profits after gains of nearly 1 percent in the previous session on weaker U.S. economic data and concerns among some Federal Reserve policymakers over lower inflation.
* OIL: Oil prices eased on Thursday, with U.S. crude dipping away from two-year highs reached the day before, but the shutdown of the Keystone pipeline and a drawdown in fuel inventories continued to bolster markets despite worries over rising output.
* EX-DIVS: Carnival, DCC, National Grid and Vodafone Group will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 6.89 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the session just 0.1 percent higher at 7,419.02 points on Wednesday as sterling recovered and headed higher, though the blue chip index still outperformed a negative European market.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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