July 12 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is to open 26 points higher at 7,618 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.
* SKY: Comcast Corp CMCSA.O on Wednesday raised its offer for Britain's Sky SKYB.L in a deal valuing the pay-TV group at $34 billion, challenging a raised bid from Twenty-First Century Fox FOXA.O . BHP BILLITON: BHP Billiton Plc BLT.L , BHP.AX handed in a proposal for a new labor contract to the union at its Escondida copper mine in Chile that includes a salary readjustment linked to inflation and a $23,000 bonus per worker, the company said on Wednesday. GLENCORE: Glencore Plc GLEN.L faces at least two lawsuits by U.S. shareholders accusing the big Anglo-Swiss mining company of having made false and misleading disclosures before it received a subpoena in a corruption probe, and its stock tumbled. NATIONAL GRID: The growing use of electric vehicles could increase peak electricity demand in Britain by between 5 and 8 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, National Grid (LON: NG ) said on Thursday. MICRO FOCUS: Britain's Micro Focus Intl MCRO.L reported an 8 percent decline in revenue for the six months to end-April, as it struggled to integrate the assets it bought from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and said it would rack up another $210 million in exceptionals. BRITAIN-EU/BANKS: Britain has given up trying to keep full access to the European Union market for its giant financial services sector after Brexit and instead will push for an easing of existing rules, the Financial Times reported. FRANCE-FINANCING: France will pare back financial regulations to EU minimums and introduce new tax incentives to make Paris a more attractive finance hub, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Wednesday. COPPER: London copper eased on Thursday after heavy losses in the previous session pushed it to its weakest in a year at one stage as trade tensions between the United States and China undermined confidence in demand for metals. OIL: Brent crude rose more than $1 on Thursday, recouping some ground after its biggest one-day drop in two years in the previous session on news that Libya would resume oil exports and U.S.-China trade tensions. EX-DIVS: Halma HLMA.L will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.13 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations The UK blue chip index fell 1.3 percent on Wednesday, as the United States threatened to slap 10 percent tariffs on a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, escalating a trade war and sending jitters across global markets. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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