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FTSE seen opening lower

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LONDON (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 11-14 points, or 0.3 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, tracking weakness overnight on Wall street and in Asia and ending a surprisingly strong month and the quarter in dull fashion.

The blue chip index closed 9.17 points, or 0.2 percent lower on Wednesday at 5,569.27 after a choppy session, with weak banks the main drag on sentiment.

The FTSE 100 index is up 6.3 percent so far in September. Wall Street also took a breather from a month-long rally on Wednesday, with investors bracing for higher volatility going forward as the best quarter in a year nears its end.

The dollar was stuck near an eight-month low on Thursday, ground down by expectations of more Federal Reserve easing, while Asian stocks pulled back slightly from a two-year high as markets paused after September's strong rally.

Consumer confidence weakened more than expected in September, as people's outlook on their own finances and the economy as a whole darkened, a GfK/NOP survey showed on Thursday.

The only other domestic macroeconomic feature on Thursday will be September's Nationwide house prices report, due for release at 7 a.m. British time.

But investors will be more focussed on the final reading for U.S. Q2 real GDP, due at 1:30 p.m. British time, although no revision is expected to the 1.6 percent quarter-on-quarter provisional growth number.

The latest U.S. weekly jobless claims and September ISM New York report will also be released at 1:30 p.m., with September's Chicago PMI data due at 2:45 p.m.

The Treasury has commissioned a probe into high-frequency automated trading over concerns that a computer-generated error could affect the economy, the Financial Times said on Thursday.

UK stocks to watch on Thursday are:


Ireland's central bank has put a 34 billion euros (29 billion pound) price on bailing out Anglo Irish Bank under a worst case scenario and said Allied Irish Banks needs to raise an additional 3 billion euros by the end of the year.


BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are looking at revising or postponing their proposed $116 billion (73 billion pound) iron ore joint venture, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Also, China's top chemicals company Sinochem is working hard to come up with a challenge to BHP Billiton's $39 billion bid for Potash Corp (POT), sources said, but efforts to secure a Russian partner have failed, according to a report.


Mexico's federal government could join a list of its states suing the companies blamed for the disastrous Gulf oil spill, claiming damage to fishing and tourism, the plaintiffs' attorney said on Wednesday.


The Ugandan government intends to sue the London-listed Heritage Oil (Heritage OIL ORD NPV) (HOC) if the company continues refusing to pay taxes from the sale of its assets in the country, a top government source told Reuters on Thursday.

CINEWORLD (Cineworld Group PLC ORD 1P)

Tim Richards, chief executive of cinema group Vue Entertainment , which has been put for sale with a price-tag of over 400 million pounds, outlines in its sales prospectus possible synergies of 15 to 25 million pounds from a merger with rival Cineworld (Cineworld Group PLC ORD 1P).

REGUS (Regus ORD 1P)

The Daily Mail's market report points to rumours of bid interest in the office rental company, with talk circling the market of a private equity cash bid of around 1.3 billion pounds, or 140 pence a share.

ICAP (Icap PLC Ord 10p)

The inter-dealer broker issues a trading update.


The contract caterer issues a trading update.


The food producer issues a trading update.

M&C SAATCHI (M&C Saatchi PLC Ord 1p (WI))

The advertising agency posts first-half results.


The wind turbines maker reports first-half results.


The marine engineering group issues a trading update.


The IT firm holds its annual general meeting.


The in-store media and marketing group holds its annual general meeting.

NETWORK TECHNOLOGY (Network Technology PLC ORD ?20)

The technology firm holds its annual general meeting.


The electronics firm holds its annual general meeting.

(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)

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