(Adds company news items and futures)
April 2 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 15 points lower at 5,439 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures up 0.44% ahead of cash market open.
* HAYS: Recruiter Hays HAYS.L announced an emergency 200 million pound ($248.36 million) issue of shares, as it sought to prop up its finances in the face of an expected collapse in fees due to the coronavirus lockdowns. ROBERT WALTERS: London-based recruitment group Robert Walters RWA.L said it would not pay a final dividend for its 2019 financial year as it cuts costs to battle the hit of the coronavirus on the industry. SAGA: Over 50s holidays specialists Saga SAGA.L said it could suspend all cruise ships and other holidays until 2021 under its most severe stress test scenario for the coronavirus crisis. FCA: The Financial Conduct Authority proposed a range of new measures to support households facing sudden financial hardship as result of the coronavirus, including three-month payment freezes on loans and credit card debt. CENTRICA: British-based power supplier and energy group Centrica CNA.L cancelled its 2019 dividend payment and took more steps to cut costs, saying it expected customers to defer electricity bill payments and sees a drop in business usage due to a nationwide lockdown. OIL: Crude oil futures surged after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their oil price war and Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a solution to "challenging" oil markets. GOLD: Gold prices edged lower as the dollar held firm, while investors awaited key U.S. jobless data amid mounting signs of a recession due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak. EX-DIVS: InterContinental Hotels IHG.L , Mondi MNDI.L , Melrose Industries MRON.L , Phoenix Group PHNX.L , Standard Life Aberdeen SLA.L , Smith & Nephew SN.L and Taylor Wimpey TW.L will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 5.05 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations. The UK blue chip index closed down 3.8% on Wednesday as banking shares dived after suspending dividend payments, while plunging factory activity in Britain and elsewhere underlined the severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: LIVE/
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