LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening lower on Thursday, with March futures down 0.7 percent by 0738 GMT ahead of the cash market open.
* Darkening the mood, China’s flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to a seven-month low of 48.3 in February from January’s final reading of 49.5. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction while one above shows expansion.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.28 points - flat in percentage terms - at 6,796.71 points on Wednesday. It hit 6,810.48, its highest since late January, earlier in the day. The index has seen a rally of around 6 percent since early February.
* BAE SYSTEMS : BAE Systems posted a 3 percent rise in full-year profit, in line with analysts’ expectations, and said it expected continuing U.S. budget pressures to reduce earnings per share by 5-10 percent this year compared to 2013.
* CENTRICA : The utility, which owns the country’s biggest energy supplier British Gas, posted a 2 percent drop in 2013 adjusted operating profit due an increase in costs in its electricity and gas supply segment.
* REXAM : The drinks can maker said full-year underlying pretax profit rose 4 percent.
* ESSAR ENERGY : FTSE said it has suspended the deadline for London-listed Essar Energy to meet a minimum free float rule pending the result of a potential offer by Essar Global Fund Ltd to buy out the remaining stake in the company.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP : Lloyds has opted to domicile TSB in England rather than Scotland ahead of the new bank’s 1.5 billion pound ($2.5 billion) stock market float, the Telegraph reported.
* BG GROUP : The oil and gas firm has bought six liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes from Italian utility Enel as it seeks to replace lost supplies from its Egyptian operations.
* PETROFAC : The company said it has been awarded an Oman contract by BP.
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