(Adds futures, news items)
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 14 points lower at 6,449 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.25% ahead of the cash market open.
* SAINSBURY'S: Sainsbury 's SBRY.L has followed market leader Tesco TSCO.L and Morrisons MRW.L in deciding to forgo business rates relief on its stores during the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOENIX: Phoenix Group PHNX.L reported a full-year cash generation of 1.7 billion pounds ($2.28 billion), exceeding the top end of its target range and more than doubling from last year. COUNTRYSIDE: Countryside Properties Plc CSPC.L said its Chairman David Howell would step down from the board in 2021, a day after its third-largest investor called for his ouster as part of efforts to break up the company. PARAGON BANKING: Paragon Banking Group PAGPA.L posted a 27% drop in underlying earnings for the year, as it recorded 48.3 million pounds in credit loss charges due to an economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN: Standard Life Aberdeen SLA.L said it has sold a 2.8% stake in insurance subsidiary HDFC Life Insurance Company for 172 million pounds ($230.53 million). GOLD: Gold rose to more than one-week high as the dollar fell to multi-year lows on hopes of coronavirus vaccine roll-outs soon, while investors kept track of developments on a U.S. stimulus deal. OIL: Oil prices fell as producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia locked horns over the need to extend record production cuts set in place in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK blue-chip index .FTSE closed 1.2% higher on Wednesday as the sterling weakened on doubts of whether a trade deal could be reached by Britain and the European Union, while the UK's approval of a COVID-19 vaccine also supported sentiment.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
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