* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 6 to 18 points, oras much as 0.3 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. Futureson the benchmark index traded 0.3 percent lower at 0618 GMT . For more onthe factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The expected fourth day of weakness on the UK index - which would be itslongest down run since May - follows on overnight from selloffs on Wall Street,where the S&P 500 closed down 0.6 percent , and in Asia .
* London's blue chip index .FTSE closed down 33.54 points, or 0.6 percent,at 5,776.71, weighed down by global growth worries and a retreat in BAE Systems
after the failure of a planned merger with France's EADS .
* Standard & Poor's on Wednesday cut Spain's sovereign credit rating toBBB-minus, just above junk territory, citing a deepening economic recession thatis limiting the government's policy options to arrest the slide. The news islikely to reignite concerns about the euro zone debt crisis, but could alsoprompt Spain to formally ask for help and thus kick start the European CentralBank's sovereign bond purchase, which investors have been waiting for.
* U.S. trade data for September and the weekly jobless figures, both due at1230 GMT, will be scanned for fresh clues on global economic health.
* Britain's heavyweight energy stocks may take some heart from a rise in oilprices on escalating tensions in the Middle East . Copper prices,meanwhile, steadied near two-week lows.
* BURBERRY : The British luxury brand says second quarter comparablestore sales growth slows to 1 percent, hit by slowdown in China and Britain.Burberry says it expects broadly unchanged underlying wholesale revenueyear-on-year.
* RBS : Royal Bank of Scotland fixes a price of 175 pence per sharefor the stock market listing of insurer Direct Line, with trading due to starton Friday. RBS will continue to hold 65.3 percent of Direct Line.
* BAE : BAE says trading has been consistent with managementexpectations and restates that it sits modest growth in underlying earnings pershare this year. However, it adds that the uncertainty over how the U.S. deficitreduction will be implemented - the so-called fiscal cliff - continues to cloudthe outlook and may lead to some trading disruption in the fourth quarter.
* UNITED UTILITIES : The Warrington-based multi-utility rose onWednesday amid revived rumours that the Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Fund andChina Investment Corporation were both running the rule over the firm, eyeing upa potential 1,000 pence per share, or 7 billion pounds, bid, according tovarious newspaper market reports.
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(Reporting By Toni Vorobyova)
Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN FACTORS