* Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down as much as 33 points, or 0.6 percent lower on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, echoing a weaker performance overnight in the United States and Asia. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 63.68 points, or 1.2 percent higher on Thursday at 5,447.79, as Britain’s top shares hit a three-week high after China’s surprise move to cut interest rates and firm UK services sector data boosted investors’ appetite for risk.
* The S&P 500 ended barely changed on Thursday as optimism about China’s interest rate cut was offset by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments that dimmed hopes for more U.S. stimulus.
* Commodities fell on Friday, disappointed by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s reticence to jump in and stimulate the world’s largest economy amid worries that a surprise Chinese rate cut suggested its economy was performing even worse than expected.
* Investors will watch for May UK PPI data due out at 0830 GMT, with input prices forecast to fall 1.3 percent month-on-month (MOM) and output prices forecast to rise 0.1 percent MOM, after British factory gate inflation eased less than expected on the year in April, and companies’ input costs rose at the slowest pace since October 2009.
ENRC : A long-awaited internal inquiry at the FTSE 100 mining group has been given added significance days before its scheduled completion by the group’s chairman refusing to endorse its controversial business partner in Africa, wrote the Guardian.
WPP : WPP has hit back at the U.S. shareholder group that criticised the 6.8 million pounds ($10.59 million) pay package handed to its chief executive, Martin Sorrell, slamming its stance as “inconsistent” and “parochial”, reported the Telegraph.
Barclays : Th UK lender’s ambitious asset disposal programme launched early last year to boost profitability has been hampered by the eurozone crisis and uncertainty over financial regulation in the UK, according to the Financial Times.
AUGEAN PLC holds its AGM.
BELLWAY has a trading update.
HORNBY posts full-year results.
OXFORD CATALYSTS GROUP hold its AGM.
STHREE releases a trading update.
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Written by David Brett; Editing by Andrew Heavens)