(Adds news items, futures)
* OCADO: Japan's biggest supermarket operator, Aeon Co Ltd 8267.T , hired British online grocer Ocado Group OCDO.L on Thursday to expand in e-commerce, hoping to fend off rivals such as Amazon AMZN.O , as more customers buy groceries online. NORTHGATE: Struggling British company Northgate Plc NTG.L said on Friday it would buy peer Redde REDD.L , in what would create one of Britain's largest vehicle rental services firm. INVESTEC: Anglo-South African Investec Group said on Friday the demerger of its asset management arm is set for March 13, when it will be renamed Ninety One. The demerger remains subject to the approval of Investec Plc INVP.L and Investec Ltd INLJ.J shareholders. ASTRAZENECA: British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Friday its cancer drug Imfinzi has been granted a speedy review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer. NPOWER: A restructuring of British energy supplier Npower announced by new parent E.ON EONGn.DE will result in 4,500 job cuts, British union UNISON said in a press release. REACH: British media company Reach Plc RCH.L on Friday said it was no longer in active talks to buy some assets of The Yorkshire Post publisher JPI Media. ROYAL MAIL: Britain's Royal Mail RMG.L on Thursday confirmed that its biggest union lost an appeal to overturn a High Court injunction to stop a strike ahead of a general election and the holiday season next month. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: British consumer confidence remained stuck at its joint-lowest level since 2013 in November as uncertainty around the Dec. 12 election and Brexit weighed on households, a survey showed. GOLD: Gold prices were little changed, but remained on track for their worst month in three years as hopes for a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal buoyed demand for riskier assets and the dollar. OIL: Oil prices were steady in quiet trade with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday underway, while investors awaited a meeting of OPEC and its allies next week that may result in the extension of a production cut agreement to support the market. The UK blue-chip index retreated from a near four-month high on Thursday, weighed down by stocks trading ex-dividend and as U.S. ratification of legislation on Hong Kong raised concerns that progress in trade talks with China may be undone. UK PAPERS
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