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  • LONDON Oct 4-* Britain's FTSE 100 is set to open 12 to 17 points higher, or as much as 0.3 percent, according to financial bookmakers. FTSE index closed up 0.3 percent, or 16.36 points higher, at 5,825.81 points on Wednesday driven by gains in "defensive" stocks seen as the most resilient to an economic downturn.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC:.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- European shares were set to rise on Thursday, mirroring gains in the United States and Asia, with investors positioning for more soothing data and some clarity on Spain's likely aid request during a European Central Bank press conference after its rate verdict.

  • Rising tensions between Syria and Turkey also contributed to higher prices, the geopolitical risk highlighting concerns about Middle East oil supplies. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was up 62 cents to $88.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • *MSCI Asia ex- Japan inches up 0.3 pct, Philippines outperforms. TOKYO, Oct 4- Asian shares and the risk-sensitive Australian dollar edged higher in choppy trade on Thursday, with investors worrying about slow global growth and awaiting fresh U.S. economic data and a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day.

  • EADS Chief Executive Tom Enders is prepared to talk about guarantees for jobs and production sites in a planned merger of the company with Britain's BAE Systems, he told Germany's Bild daily.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- Russia's largest bank Sberbank. Barclays is coordinating Sberbank's three-year loan, which is the largest such deal in the central and eastern European pipeline, the bankers added. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays, Citi, HSBC, ING, JP Morgan, WestLB, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and SMBC participated in the 2011 deal.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- A planned competition probe of Britain's motor insurance market could reduce insurers' profits and hinder their ability to repay debt, credit rating agency Moody's said on Thursday.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- A Director General at the European Commission has asked the chair of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority to review capital charges under Solvency II, particularly for SME financing, infrastructure financing, and socially responsible investment.

  • WASHINGTON/ LONDON, Oct 3- To win approval for their planned $45 billion merger, EADS and BAE systems must persuade Washington to let a pan-European behemoth control some of the most sensitive U.S. defence contracts, without triggering a political backlash.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- The failure of one Britain's big banks would still wreak market havoc and leave taxpayers on the hook as more needs to be done to curb their complexity and risks, the country's top banking supervisor said on Thursday.

  • *Barclays investment bank boss Ricci unveils management shake-up- memo. LONDON, Oct 4- Barclays announced a shake up at its investment bank on Thursday as the group tries to cut costs in a tough market and reduce risks to its reputation following the Libor scandal.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- An EU expert group on bank structural reform this week threw its weight behind the idea of introducing a separate layer of bail-inable bank debt as policymakers try to address the problem of "too big to fail".

  • LONDON, Oct 4- Britain's takeover regulator has given a consortium bidding for housebuilder Redrow an extra two weeks to decide whether to make a takeover offer for the company.

  • The euro zone's economic woes accelerated last month and China's slowdown looked likely to extend to a seventh quarter, surveys on Wednesday showed, while the United States proved the bright spot with better-than-expected news on services and jobs.

  • MELBOURNE, Oct 4- Australian shares were up 0.2 percent on Thursday as banks rose while miners fell, with sentiment dented by soft retail sales figures for August and declines in oil and copper prices. Top banks continued this week's post rate-cut gains, led by a 1.2 percent rise in Westpac Banking Corp.

  • MELBOURNE, Oct 4- Australian shares rose 0.2 percent early on Thursday as gains in banks offset weaker miners, with sentiment supported by encouraging jobs growth data in the United States.

  • By Karen Jacobs Oct 3- Hotel operator Marriott International. A demand recovery in North America and rising room rates in the face of limited supply growth is helping Marriott offset softness in Europe. North America accounts for 75 percent of business at Marriott, whose brands include Ritz-Carlton, Residence Inn and Courtyard.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- The Bank of England will shy away from increasing its economic stimulus programme of government bond purchases on Thursday as the economy is showing some signs of growing again.

  • *China, Europe services PMI disappoint. NEW YORK, Oct 3- Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday as disappointing economic data from China and Europe reinforced concerns about slowing growth and a weakening demand for petroleum, even as supportive U.S. data strengthened the dollar.