Sept 8 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening down 3 to 5 points on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.3 percent higher on Wednesday at 6,846.58, supported by stronger precious metals and oil company shares as well as by gains at equipment rentals company Ashtead AHT.L . MICRO FOCUS: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co HPE.N will spin off and merge its non-core software assets with Britain's Micro Focus International Plc MCRO.L in a deal worth $8.8 billion, the companies said on Wednesday. LIBERTY MEDIA/F1: Formula One faces its biggest shake-up in decades with the announcement on Wednesday that U.S. cable TV mogul John Malone's Liberty Media LMCA.O has agreed to take control of the cash-generating glamour sport. The deal, which has an enterprise value of $8 billion according to a company statement, heralds a new era for Formula One, a European-dominated sport that has long sought to break into the U.S. market and win fresh audiences. UK SMALL BUSINESSES: Small businesses in Britain remain confident about the economic and political landscape following the historic vote in June to leave the European Union, according to a survey by research firm BDRC Continental. UK HOUSING & JOBS: The bounce back in Britain's economy from the initial shock of the Brexit vote has expanded to the country's recruitment and housing markets, according to two surveys which had previously painted a bleak outlook. OIL: Oil prices extended gains by more than 1.5 percent on Thursday after industry data showed what might be the largest weekly drawdown in crude stocks in over three decades. COPPER: London copper was holding near its highest level in a fortnight on Thursday, after a string of softening economic reports pushed back U.S. rate hike expectations and undermined the dollar, while markets waited on China trade data due later. EX-DIVS: Admiral ADML.L , Antofagasta ANTO.L , CRH CRH.L , Land Securities LAND.L , Paddy Power Betfair PPB.L , RSA RSA.L , Shire SHP.L , Standard Life SL.L will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 2.24 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
Dixons Carphone PLC
Q1 Summit Therapeutics PLC SUMM.L Half Year Monitise PLC
MONI.L Full Year Avation PLC
AVAP.L Full Year EnQuest PLC
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