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April 18 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 18 points higher at 7,244 on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.1 pct ahead of the cash market open.
* BT: BT will merge two of its divisions which provide public sector work and wholesale services in the latest restructuring designed to improve customer services, it said on Wednesday.
* HAMMERSON: Hammerson Plc has withdrawn its recommendation to shareholders that they back a merger with Intu Properties Plc, the British property company said on Wednesday.
* JUPITER: British fund manager Jupiter suffered 1.3 billion pounds ($1.86 billion) in net outflows in the first quarter, hurt by withdrawals from fixed income portfolios, it said on Wednesday.
* DE LA RUE: De La Rue, the company that makes British passports, said on Wednesday it would not appeal against a decision to award the next contract to a foreign firm.
* POLYMETAL: Russian gold and silver producer Polymetal said on Wednesday its first-quarter revenue rose 19 percent year-on-year to $354 million due to an increase in production and higher sales of gold.
* RIO TINTO: Global miner Rio Tinto said on Wednesday its first-quarter iron ore shipments rose 4.7 percent, helped by fewer weather disruptions during the period and productivity improvements.
* BHP BILLITON: BHP Billiton aims to start producing nickel sulphate at its Nickel West project in Australia next year to tap demand from the battery sector, a company executive said on Wednesday, adding that the project was now targeting production of 90,000 tonnes of nickel metal.
* CYBG: CYBG Plc on Wednesday said it expected to take a pre-tax charge of 202 million pounds ($288.60 million) in its half-year results through March as it increased the provision to cover the cost of an earlier insurance industry scandal.
* RIO TINTO: Global miner Rio Tinto on Wednesday flagged possible changes to its 2018 aluminium output following U.S. sanctions on its Russian partner Rusal earlier this month.
* GOLD: Gold prices slipped early Wednesday while the dollar held its gains on the back of upbeat March U.S. housing starts and industrial production figures.
* OIL: Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, lifted by a reported fall in U.S. crude inventories and by the ongoing risk of supply disruptions.
* The UK blue chip FTSE 100 index closed 0.4 percent higher at 7,226.05 points on Tuesday, as sterling retreated from its highest level since the Brexit vote, while focus turned from geopolitical risks to corporate earnings that were largely supportive.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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