(Adds company news, futures)
Sept 14 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were down 0.18 percent ahead of the cash market open on Thursday.
* GVC HOLDINGS: Online gambling firm GVC Holdings, which has expanded rapidly through a series of acquisitions, said it expects core annual earnings to top market estimates after first-half gaming revenue rose.
* SPIRE HEALTHCARE: Spire Healthcare said first-half profit slumped 75 percent, hurt by a charge relating to a legal settlement and start-up costs at its new hospital in Nottingham.
* BOOKER GROUP: British wholesaler Booker Group, which has agreed a 3.7 billion pound ($4.89 billion) takeover by Tesco TSCO.L, said its second-quarter like-for-like sales rose 1.3 percent helped by strength in catering and retail supply.
* OPHIR ENERGY: Oil and natural gas producer Ophir Energy Plc on Thursday reported a 69.5 percent rise in first-half revenue, helped by higher commodity prices.
* BRITAIN-FUNDS: Britain’s markets watchdog said it has asked the UK competition authorities to conduct a study into investment consultants, saying it has serious concerns about the sector.
* NEXT: British clothing retailer Next nudged its full-year sales and profit guidance higher on Thursday after seeing an improvement in trading in the last three months, helped by demand for its directory business.
* MORRISONS: Morrisons, Britain’s No. 4 supermarket, reported a 12.7 percent rise in first-half profit and a seventh straight quarter of underlying sales growth, cementing a turnaround under chief executive David Potts.
* THOMAS COOK: Former motor racing driver Niki Lauda plans to offer around 100 million euros ($118.69 million) for parts of insolvent airline Air Berlin together with Thomas Cook’s German carrier Condor, he told ORF radio on Thursday.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE: A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Wednesday voted 11-0 that the safety and efficacy of GlaxoSmithKline’s shingles vaccine warrants approval for its use in adults aged 50 and over.
* LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE: London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) has agreed to buy an additional stake of up to 6.8 percent in its clearing arm LCH from some of its minority shareholders, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
* OIL: Oil prices on Thursday held most of their gains of around 2 percent from the previous session, buoyed after the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for growth in global oil demand.
* GOLD: Gold edged down on Thursday to its lowest in nearly two weeks on waning risk aversion, and as the dollar steadied ahead of U.S. consumer inflation data that could offer clues on the timing of further interest rate hikes.
* BRITAIN-EU: Britain will reject “protectionist” agendas from the European Union in favour of “forward-leaning” proposals when it comes to supervising cross-border financial markets after Brexit, UK finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.
* EX-DIVS: No FTSE 100 companies will go ex-dividend on Thursday.
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.28 percent at 7,379 points on Wednesday, as the British currency briefly surged to $1.3329.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Harish Bhaskar)