Feb 27 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 8 points lower at 7,143 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers.
* CREST NICHOLSON: British housebuilder Crest Nicholson Holdings Plc CRST.L said on Tuesday it named Duncan Cooper finance director, replacing Robert Allen who stepped down from the position in October following a profit warning. LAURA ASHLEY: Laura Ashley Holdings Plc ALY.L has dismissed an unsolicited takeover offer from investment firm Flacks Group, saying it would significantly undervalue the British fashion retailer. METRO BANK: Britain's Metro Bank MTRO.L plans to raise 350 million pounds ($464 million) in a shareholder cash call, it said on Tuesday, a month after announcing a sharp rise in exposure to higher-risk mortgages. DIRECT LINE INSURANCE: Britain's largest motor insurer Direct Line Insurance Group Plc DLGD.L said on Tuesday its Chief Financial Officer Penny James would succeed Paul Geddes as chief executive officer in May. GOLD: Gold held steady on Wednesday as the dollar traded near three-week lows, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the central bank will be patient in hiking interest rates, while palladium hovered near the psychological level of $1,550. OIL: Oil prices rose on Wednesday after a report of declining crude inventories in the country and as producer club OPEC seemed to stick to its supply cuts despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump. The UK blue chip index closed 0.45 percent down at 7151.12 on Tuesday, as miner Fresnillo (LON: FRES ) slumped after poor results and the sterling rallied on growing signs of a Brexit delay, though online grocer Ocado (LON: OCDO ) soared after confirming joint venture talks with Marks & Spencer. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
* UK CORPORATE DIARY: Taylor Wimpey
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