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Dec 7 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening between 31 and 35 points higher, or up as much as 0.52 percent on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 up 0.72 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.5 pct at close at 6,779.84, supported by a rally in bank stocks. PFIZER: Britain's competition watchdog said on Wednesday it had fined Pfizer PFE (NYSE: PFE ).N a record 84.2 million pounds ($106.54 million) for ramping up the cost of an epilepsy drug by as much as 2,600 percent. SAGE GROUP: British software company Sage Group SGE.L is evaluating potential strategic options for its North American payments business, including a sale, it said on Wednesday. STAGECOACH: British transport company Stagecoach SCG.L said its annual earnings outlook was broadly unchanged despite lower bus profits, as it planned to lift its dividend to reflect its confidence in future appetite for public transport. CARILLION: Carillion Plc CLLN.L , a building support services company, said the pace of new order intake had slowed in the second half of the year, partly due to a spending delay by the government following Britain's vote to quit the European Union. ARROW GLOBAL: Debt purchaser and manager Arrow Global Group Plc ARWA.L said former Virgin Money Holdings (UK) Plc VM.L finance boss Lee Rochford would take over as Arrow Global's chief executive officer on Jan. 3. RIO TINTO: The copper market will go into deficit by 2020, just when Rio Tinto 's RIO.L RIO.AX extension to the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia comes onstream, the company said on Tuesday. BHP: Brazilian iron ore miner Samarco Mineracao expects to receive a preliminary environmental license in the first quarter, an important step in its effort to resume operations by mid-2017, Chief Executive Officer Roberto Carvalho said in an interview on Tuesday. This would be the first of three environmental licenses needed by the company, which is jointly owned by Vale SA VALE5.SA and BHP Billiton BLT.L . ANGLO AMERICAN: An environmental group said on Tuesday it filed a lawsuit against De Beers Canada, accusing the diamond producer of failing to report toxic levels of mercury and methylmercury at its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario. De Beers is 85 percent owned by miner Anglo American Plc AAL.L . BBC: Thailand's defence minister said on Wednesday authorities will investigate the BBC on suspicion of insulting the monarchy in connection with a Thai-language profile of the new king that has stirred social media anger. BP: Oil major BP BP.L is shipping almost 3 million barrels of U.S. crude to customers across Asia, pioneering a lengthy and complex operation likely to become more popular after OPEC last week announced deep production cuts. BREXIT: British finance minister Philip Hammond will seek to reassure some of the country's trade and investment partners that Brexit will not hurt them when he travels to South Africa on Wednesday and to Japan and South Korea next week. BREXIT: The British government has accepted the opposition Labour Party's call for it to set out its plan for leaving the European Union before formal talks begin, but has asked parliament to respect its Brexit timetable. METALS: London copper was treading water on Wednesday, buoyed by signs that global manufacturing activity will return to a healthier footing next year. OIL: Oil prices slipped on Wednesday on persistent doubts whether a planned crude production cut led by OPEC and Russia would be deep enough to end a supply overhang that has dogged markets for over two years. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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