LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 3 to 6 points, or as much as 0.1 percent lower, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 10.91 points, or 0.2 percent, weaker at 6,430.06 points in the previous session. Futures for the index were flat in early trading on Thursday.
* VODAFONE GROUP - Verizon Communications is in advanced talks to buy Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in their U.S. joint venture for about $130 billion, Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
* ADMIRAL GROUP - British motor insurer Admiral Group outpaced market forecasts for its first half earnings with a 6 percent lift in pre-tax profits, largely attributed to its core UK business.
* WPP - WPP, set to be overtaken as the world’s biggest ad group by the merger of Publicis and Omnicom, said like-for-like revenue rose 5 percent in July, the strongest rate this year, and said it saw a “slight increase” in its full-year forecast.
* MELROSE INDUSTRIES - The company’s first half revenue was 1.02 billion sterling, up from 466.2 million sterling a year earlier.
* SERCO - Outsourcing group Serco said it was working with Britain’s government to fix any wrongdoing that is discovered from a raft of reviews into its contracts.
* BUMI - Bumi posted losses in the first half as coal prices tumbled.
* EURASIA DRILLING - Russia’s biggest oilfield services company Eurasia Drilling said its first-half net income rose 15 percent thanks to increased complex drilling at depleted fields in the world’s top oil producing nation.
* STAGECOACH GROUP - The company said it was on track to hit targets after strong recent trade and the overall profitability of the group had remained satisfactory.
* HAYS - British recruitment firm Hays said full-year profit fell 3 percent as stronger employment markets in Europe, Latin America and North America failed to offset a decline in Asia Pacific.
* PLAYTECH - Gaming software developer Playtech posted a 13 percent jump in first half-earnings on Thursday, helped by the rising popularity of mobile and online gambling, and said it was confident of meeting full year market expectations.
* EVRAZ - Russia’s largest steelmaker Evraz posted on Thursday a first-half net loss of $122 million, in line with analyst expectations, attributing the loss to weak prices for steel.
* SOCO INTERNATIONAL - The oil exploration and production company focused in west Africa and Vietnam unveiled its promised first payout to shareholders on Thursday.
* CAPE - The industrial services group focused on the oil and gas industry said it saw a “subdued” order intake in the first half of 2013 of 239 million pounds ($371 million) down from 363 million a year earlier.
* Brent crude slipped below $116 a barrel, taking a breather after its strongest 2-day gain since January 2012 over fears of oil-supply disruptions in the Middle East as western nations prepared to intervene in Syria.
* London copper fell for a third session, as the dollar rose against a basket of currencies, but was underpinned by steady Chinese demand and the prospect of a slow revival in global growth.
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