(Adds company news items, updates futures and some items)
March 1 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 42 points lower at 7,190 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.28 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* CARPETRIGHT: Britain’ biggest floor coverings retailer Carpetright said on Thursday it was in talks with banks to see how to shore up its balance sheet, forecasting a small pretax loss in the full year - its third warning in four months.
* LAIRD: Private equity firm Advent International has agreed to buy British electronics and technology business Laird, the firms said on Thursday, valuing its issued equity at around 1 billion pounds ($1.38 billion).
* MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS: Britain’s Merlin Entertainments, operator of tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds waxworks, met reduced guidance with a 9.5 percent rise in 2017 core earnings and said it was confident about its future prospects.
* WPP: WPP, the world’s biggest advertising group, said it would simplify its structure after it reported a 0.9 percent drop in 2017 net sales, its worst performance since the financial crisis, and forecast no growth for 2018.
* HASTINGS: British insurer Hastings Group Holdings Plc reported a 39 percent jump in full-year adjusted operating profit, as it provided insurance to more customers and increased its market share.
* EVRAZ: Evraz, Russia’s second-biggest steel producer, said on Thursday its 2017 core earnings rose 70 percent year-on-year to $2.6 billion due to higher global prices, beating analysts’ estimates.
* MAIL.RU GROUP: Russia’s Mail.ru Group said on Thursday its net profit FOR 2017 Was up 22.6 percent to 14.2 billion roubles ($252 million).
* COBHAM: British aerospace and defence electronics group Cobham said it posted annual profit slightly ahead of expectations, and was sticking to its 2018 outlook, but cautioned that risks and challenges remained.
* SCHRODERS: British asset manager Schroders posted a 23 percent rise in pretax profit after market gains, acquisitions and inflows of fresh client money helped boost total funds to 447 billion pounds ($615.5 billion).
* BOVIS: British builder Bovis, which is undergoing a turnaround plan after seeing off two takeover bids last year following a profit warning, said its volumes would grow in 2018 as it posted a slump in profits in line with expectations.
* ROBERT WALTERS: British recruiting company Robert Walters reported an about 44 percent jump in full-year pretax profit, as overseas growth and its outsourcing business protected the firm against Brexit uncertainty, which has challenged the UK’s recruiting market.
* PETROFAC: Petrofac Ltd reported better-than-expected core earnings as an uptick in oil prices boosted the oilfield service company’s orders.
* INTERNATIONAL PERSONAL FINANCE: International Personal Finance Plc said it had introduced more competitive rates in its home credit products in Europe through longer-term lending, as it deals with regulatory oversight of its consumer credit markets.
* HOWDEN JOINERY: British kitchen supplier Howden Joinery on Thursday posted a 7.4 percent rise in full-year revenue as sales held up despite concerns about thinning consumer confidence in the UK.
* COMCAST/SKY: U.S. cable operator Comcast has informally notified the European Commission of its intention to bid for Britain’s pay-TV group Sky , triggering the regulatory process for the $31 billion deal.
* TESCO/BOOKER: Tesco’s 4 billion pound ($5.5 billion) takeover of Booker was overwhelmingly backed by shareholders of both companies on Wednesday, clearing the final hurdles to the creation of a new powerhouse in Britain’s 200 billion pounds-a-year food market.
* MELROSE/GKN: Investor adviser PIRC has told shareholders in Melrose Industries to oppose its 7 billion pound ($10 billion) bid for engineering group GKN, putting it at odds with two other proxy voting firms.
* BRITISH HOUSE PRICES: British house prices fell unexpectedly for the first time in six months during February, reflecting a subdued consumer economy, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Thursday.
* BREXIT/BRITISH CARMAKERS: Britain must maintain free trade and European Union regulatory alignment for the automotive industry as Brexit offers no upside for the sector, a committee of lawmakers said.
* UK AUTOS: Just over 60 percent of recent or prospective car buyers have had their decision-making influenced by Britain’s exit from the European Union, including some delaying a purchase, according to a survey by Auto Trader .
* EX-DIVS: Barclays, Berkeley Group, easyJet, Rio Tinto and RSA Insurance Group will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 8.48 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.7 percent at 7,231.91 points on Wednesday, dragged down by mining companies after weak factory data from China, while comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reignited expectations of more interest rate hikes in the United States.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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