LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 14 to 17 points higher, or up as much as 0.3 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* Futures for the index were up 0.3 percent by 0629 GMT.
* The UK blue chip index closed 24.68 points lower, or down 0.4 percent, at 6,814.57 points on Friday. It had risen to a high of 6,840.37 on Thursday, its highest since late February.
* The Confederation of British Industry, Britain’s top business lobby, upgraded its economic growth forecasts for this year and next on Monday and said it expects to see marked improvements in British business investment and productivity.
* CAPITA - British outsourcing group Capita said it was on track to achieve its organic growth target for the year after securing 1.1 billion pounds ($1.85 billion) worth of contract wins in the first quarter.
* ASTRAZENECA - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday he had made very good progress in securing guarantees from Pfizer over the U.S. drugmaker’s $106 billion bid to buy AstraZeneca.
* BP - The oil major plans to invest $1.5 billion this year to increase its production of natural gas in Egypt, hit by an energy crisis following three years of political turmoil, the state news agency MENA said on Sunday.
* BRITISH SKY BROADCASTING GROUP - The company said on Monday it was in early talks with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox over the possible acquisition of its pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, confirming weekend reports.
* BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL GROUP - The engineering support services company said its rail business has been successful in winning work across three of the seven geographic lots to deliver conventional plain line track works for Network Rail.
* BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO - Britain’s largest tobacco group has hired bankers to advise on multibillion-pound acquisition opportunities in America, including possible deals with Reynolds American and Lorillard, The Times reported.
* ROYAL DUTCH SHELL - Shell is restarting an unspecified unit at its 255,000-barrel-per-day Scotford oil sands upgrader near Edmonton, Alberta, it said in a message posted on a community information line on Friday night.
* BARCLAYS - The UK fraud office stepped up its probe into British bank Barclays’ dealings with Qatar, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
* British employers plan to hire staff at the fastest rate since the early days of the financial crisis, a business survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed on Monday in a further sign the economy is picking up speed.
* Brent crude futures firmed above $108 per barrel on Monday, supported by renewed tensions in Ukraine.
* Pro-Moscow rebels declared a resounding victory in a referendum on self-rule for eastern Ukraine, with some saying that meant independence and others eventual union with Russia The European Union is set to step up pressure on Russia on Monday by taking a first cautious step towards extending sanctions.
> 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 (Reporting by Atul Prakash, editing by Tricia Wright)