May 17 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening down 4 points at 7,730 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.
* ROYAL MAIL: New chief executive of Royal Mail RMG.L , Rico Back, has been paid nearly 6 million pounds ($8.13 million) to buy him out of his contract in a move that could spark fury among former state-owned company's trade unions and shareholders. MOTHERCARE: Britain's Mothercare Plc MTC.L will shutter 50 stores in the UK and bring back Mark Newton-Jones as chief executive as part of a restructuring plan to be unveiled on Thursday. KPMG: KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC have drawn up contingency plans for a break up of their UK businesses, in case regulators force them to spin off their audit from their consulting businesses, FT reported. https://on.ft.com/2k3DXsM
* BETTING: The maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals in the UK will be dramatically slashed to just 2 pounds in a major victory for gambling campaigners. GOLD: Gold prices made modest gains on Thursday after touching their lowest level this year in the previous session, amid geopolitical uncertainty and a slightly weaker U.S. dollar. OIL: Oil prices firmed on Thursday, with Brent crude creeping ever closer to $80 per barrel, a level it has not seen since November 2014, as supplies tighten while demand remains strong. EX-DIVS: HSBC HSBA.L , Intertek Group ITRK.L , Tesco TSCO.L will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 6.77 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations The UK blue chip index closed 11 points higher at 7734.20 on Wednesday, as mining stocks rallied. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
British Land Company PLC
Full Year 2018 Earnings Release National Grid PLC
Full Year 2018 Earnings Release 3i Group PLC
Full Year 2018 Earnings Release Future PLC
Half Year 2018 Earnings Release Investec PLC
Full Year 2018 Earnings Release Euromoney Institutional Investor ERM.L
Half Year 2018 Earnings Release Grainger PLC
Half Year 2018 Earnings Release Thomas Cook Group plc
Half Year 2018 Earnings Release Royal Mail PLC
Full Year 2018 Earnings Release Just Group PLC
JUSTJ.L Q1 2018 Business Update
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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