* Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 6 to 18 points, or as much as 0.3 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. Futures on the benchmark index traded 0.3 percent lower at 0618 GMT . For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The expected fourth day of weakness on the UK index - which would be its longest 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 to BBB-minus, just above junk territory, citing a deepening economic recession that is limiting the government's policy options to arrest the slide. The news is likely to reignite concerns about the euro zone debt crisis, but could also prompt Spain to formally ask for help and thus kick start the European Central Bank's sovereign bond purchase, which investors have been waiting for.
* U.S. trade data for September and the weekly jobless figures, both due at 1230 GMT, will be scanned for fresh clues on global economic health.
* Britain's heavyweight energy stocks may take some heart from a rise in oil prices on escalating tensions in the Middle East . Copper prices, meanwhile, steadied near two-week lows.
* BURBERRY : The British luxury brand says second quarter comparable store sales growth slows to 1 percent, hit by slowdown in China and Britain. Burberry says it expects broadly unchanged underlying wholesale revenue year-on-year.
* RBS : Royal Bank of Scotland fixes a price of 175 pence per share for the stock market listing of insurer Direct Line, with trading due to start on Friday. RBS will continue to hold 65.3 percent of Direct Line.
* BAE : BAE says trading has been consistent with management expectations and restates that it sits modest growth in underlying earnings per share this year. However, it adds that the uncertainty over how the U.S. deficit reduction will be implemented - the so-called fiscal cliff - continues to cloud the outlook and may lead to some trading disruption in the fourth quarter.
* UNITED UTILITIES : The Warrington-based multi-utility rose on Wednesday amid revived rumours that the Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Fund and China Investment Corporation were both running the rule over the firm, eyeing up a potential 1,000 pence per share, or 7 billion pounds, bid, according to various newspaper market reports.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS > Financial Times > Other business headlines
Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for:
* 3000 Xtra : visit
* BridgeStation: view story .134
For more information on Top News visit
(Reporting By Toni Vorobyova)
Keywords: MARKETS BRITAIN FACTORS