(Adds futures, news items)
April 23 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 27 points lower at 6,911 points on Friday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures FFIc1 down 0.5% ahead of cash market open.
* FIRSTGROUP: FirstGroup Plc FGP.L agreed to sell its North American school bus and bus contracting businesses to EQT Infrastructure for $4.6 billion including debt, the UK-based transport operator said . RETAIL SALES: British retail sales rose by 5.4% in March from February ahead of the re-opening of non-essential shops this month, official data showed. BORROWING: Britain's government borrowed 303.1 billion pounds in the financial year which ended last month, as it resorted to a huge surge in spending and tax cuts to offset the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate activists protested outside the Lloyd's of London insurance market, dumping a load of fake coal outside its headquarters as part of a campaign against insuring fossil fuel mining. ANGLO AMERICAN: Anglo American (JO: AMSJ ) Plc AAL.L has not kept workers fully informed of plans to restart a coal mine in Queensland nearly a year after a blast injured five people, a union official said, but the company called the comments unfounded. CONSUMER SENTIMENT: British consumer sentiment rose to its highest since the start of the COVID pandemic this month as the economy reopened partially, a closely watched survey showed, but the increase was smaller than economists had expected. ASTRAZENECA: Australia's Minister for Trade has urged AstraZeneca AZN.L to dispatch 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Papua New Guinea amid concerns about the spread of the virus there, saying the EU had pledged no hindrance to the exports. ASTRAZENECA: Britain's medicines regulator on Thursday said there had been 168 major blood clots following a dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, a rate of 7.9 clots per million doses, a jump in incidence from the previous week's figure. ASTRAZENECA: The European Commission said on Wednesday no decision had yet been taken on whether to launch legal action against AstraZeneca, after Ireland's health minister said the case had been initiated.
* PEARSON: Education group Pearson Plc PSON.L said on Thursday Chairman Sidney Taurel intends to retire and step down from the board no later than next year's annual general meeting.
* REGULATOR: Britain's financial regulator said on Thursday it will rethink how consumers should be protected after a surge in online scams since people were forced to work from home due to COVID-19 restrictions. OIL: Oil prices rose, buoyed by hopes demand will recover as economic growth picks up and lockdowns ease, but worries about India's surging second wave of COVID-19 cases limited gains. COPPER: Copper prices were on track for their third straight week of gains, as a weaker dollar made greenback-priced metals cheaper and more appealing to holders of other currencies. Britain's FTSE 100 ended higher on Thursday on higher retail stocks as last week saw a jump in footfalls and a weaker pound, while mid-caps rose to their best day in two weeks led by gains in construction company Morgan Sindall. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
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