(Adds further company news)
* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 24-25 points, or 0.4percent lower on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, tracking falls onWall Street and in Asia on mounting concerns the latest corporate earnings willdisappoint. 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 Tuesdayat 5,810.25, dented by a wary view of Europe's debt troubles and concerns thatgloomy global economic data bodes ill for the upcoming corporate earningsseason.
* Alcoa kicked off the U.S. third-quarter earnings season after WallStreet's close on Tuesday. The group's third-quarter profit beat marketexpectations, despite weak aluminum prices, but it lowered its global aluminumconsumption outlook to 6 percent growth from 7 percent previously for 2012mainly due to a slowdown of demand in China.
* London copper edged up on Wednesday as fresh signs of pro-growthpolicies by top metals consumer China outweighed worries over the global economyand sagging metals demand.
* BAE SYSTEMS - BAE and EADS are making one last effort tobreathe life into a troubled $45 billion aerospace merger, as doubts grow overGerman backing for the deal, ahead of a deadline at 1600 GMT on Wednesday todeclare their intentions and either scrap the merger or ask UK regulators formore time to finalise their plans to create the world's largest aerospace andarms group.
* BP - Russian president Vladimir Putin backs BP's plan to sell its50 percent stake in TNK-BP to the state oil group Rosneft ,the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing an interview with Rosneft'schief executive, Igor Sechin.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - The bank plans to price the stock marketlisting 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 toldReuters.
* MAN GROUP - Revived whispers that a U.S. bidder will soon comecalling lifted shares in the hedge fund manager on Tuesday, the Daily Mail'sMarket Report said, with talk 9.35 percent shareholder Blackrock and otherscould be lining up a 140 pence a share cash bid.
* ASOS - The British online fashion retailer said Kate Bostock, theformer head of general merchandise at Marks & Spencer , i s to join thecompany as an executive director, product and trading in January 2013.
* SABMILLER - The brewer said in a trading update that it hasexpanded its African beer brand, Chibuku, into ten countries across thecontinent.
* THORNTONS - The chocolate group said it was cautious on theoutlook for its upcoming peak trading season as it posted a 1 percent decline infirst-quarter total sales to 46.0 million pounds, with trading in line withmanagement expectations.
* FERREXPO - The iron pellet group said production from its own orerose 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 thirdparty concentrate.
* AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS GROUP - The firm posts a full-year pretaxloss of 16 million pounds.
* Britain's Financial Services Authority has relaxed capital and liquidityrules on banks in an effort to stimulate lending and use bank regulation tomoderate the economic cycle, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
* Stocks trading ex-dividend, after which investors will no longer qualifyfor the latest dividend payout, will chop 2.87 points off the FTSE 100 index onWednesday, 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, soinvestors will look across the Atlantic for macro direction to the latest weeklyU.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 FederalReserve Beige Book, due after the London close at 1900 GMT.
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(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)
Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN FACTORS