(Adds further company news)
* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 24-25 points, or 0.4 percent lower on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, tracking falls on Wall Street and in Asia on mounting concerns the latest corporate earnings will disappoint. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down 31.49 points, or 0.5 percent on Tuesday at 5,810.25, dented by a wary view of Europe's debt troubles and concerns that gloomy global economic data bodes ill for the upcoming corporate earnings season.
* Alcoa kicked off the U.S. third-quarter earnings season after Wall Street's close on Tuesday. The group's third-quarter profit beat market expectations, despite weak aluminum prices, but it lowered its global aluminum consumption outlook to 6 percent growth from 7 percent previously for 2012 mainly due to a slowdown of demand in China.
* London copper edged up on Wednesday as fresh signs of pro-growth policies by top metals consumer China outweighed worries over the global economy and sagging metals demand.
* BAE SYSTEMS - BAE and EADS are making one last effort to breathe life into a troubled $45 billion aerospace merger, as doubts grow over German backing for the deal, ahead of a deadline at 1600 GMT on Wednesday to declare their intentions and either scrap the merger or ask UK regulators for more time to finalise their plans to create the world's largest aerospace and arms group.
* BP - Russian president Vladimir Putin backs BP's plan to sell its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP to the state oil group Rosneft , the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing an interview with Rosneft's chief executive, Igor Sechin.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - The bank plans to price the stock market listing of its Direct Line insurance business at between 170 pence and 177.5p, in the lower half of its initial range, sources close to the transaction told Reuters.
* MAN GROUP - Revived whispers that a U.S. bidder will soon come calling lifted shares in the hedge fund manager on Tuesday, the Daily Mail's Market Report said, with talk 9.35 percent shareholder Blackrock and others could be lining up a 140 pence a share cash bid.
* ASOS - The British online fashion retailer said Kate Bostock, the former head of general merchandise at Marks & Spencer , i s to join the company as an executive director, product and trading in January 2013.
* SABMILLER - The brewer said in a trading update that it has expanded its African beer brand, Chibuku, into ten countries across the continent.
* THORNTONS - The chocolate group said it was cautious on the outlook for its upcoming peak trading season as it posted a 1 percent decline in first-quarter total sales to 46.0 million pounds, with trading in line with management expectations.
* FERREXPO - The iron pellet group said production from its own ore rose 2.8 percent in the third-quarter 2012 compared to second-quarter 2012, although there was a reduction in total output due to lower purchases of third party concentrate.
* AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS GROUP - The firm posts a full-year pretax loss of 16 million pounds.
* Britain's Financial Services Authority has relaxed capital and liquidity rules on banks in an effort to stimulate lending and use bank regulation to moderate the economic cycle, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
* Stocks trading ex-dividend, after which investors will no longer qualify for the latest dividend payout, will chop 2.87 points off the FTSE 100 index on Wednesday, after the resulting adjustment to prices by market-makers.
With Kingfisher , Smith & Nephew , Tesco , Wolseley , and WPP Group all trading without their dividend entitlements.
* No major British economic data will be released on Wednesday, so investors will look across the Atlantic for macro direction to the latest weekly U.S. mortgage and refinancing indexes, due for release at 1100 GMT, August U.S. wholesale inventories and sales, scheduled for 1400 GMT, and the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book, due after the London close at 1900 GMT.
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(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)
Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN FACTORS