FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index was seen opening up 2-8 points, or 0.1 percent, on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers.

The main focus though will be the UK budget, where British finance minister George Osborne looks set to divert attention from the country's limp economy with politically driven tax measures, aiming to appease both parties in the ruling coalition and keep financial markets onside.

The benchmark index closed down 69.7 points, or 1.2 percent, at 5,891.41 on Tuesday, having rallied more than 6 percent since the start of the year and after hitting an eight-month peak last week, dragged down by miners as BHP Billiton warned of a slowdown in demand from China.

Details of how the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted in their recent meeting to decide on interest rates and quantitative easing will be released at about 0930 British Time, with a unanimous vote in favour of keeping interest rates at record lows and no further quantitative easing expected.

Public sector net borrowing (PSNB) figures for February were due at 0930 GMT. Britain posted the largest budget surplus in four years in January, putting deficit cuts ahead of plans.

In the U.S. mortgage data is due out at 1100 GMT followed by existing home sales data at around 1400 GMT, with investors looking for clues to see if the upbeat consumer sentiment the World's biggest economy has been showing of late is feeding through to the embattled housing market.


Formula One (F1), the top global motor racing series, is considering options for a stock market listing, a source told Reuters, as media reports named Singapore as its preferred location for the float.


European banks are preparing a new type of securitised vehicle bundling together loans to commodity trading houses to try to resolve the credit crunch in the commodities industry, the Financial Times reported.


Nearly 100 staff will be made redundant on Thursday when Canaccord Financial CF.TO completes its acquisition of Collins Stewart Hawkpoint, as London's stockbroking industry continues to shed capacity, the FT reported.


A battle has broken out between Apple and its rival smartphone makers over the standard industry template for miniature SIM cards for the next generation of slimmer handsets, the Financial Times said.

Ex-dividend factors will take 3.1 points off FTSE 100, with Aviva , Intercontinental Hotels , Smiths Group and Standard Life all losing their payout attractions.


J SAINSBURY has trading update. EURASIAN NATURAL RESOURCES CORP unveils full-year results. AMINO TECHNOLOGIES hosts its AGM. CHEMRING GROUP holds its AGM. EKF DIAGNOSTICS posts full-year results. HORIZONTE MINERALS holds a shareholders meeting. IQE reports full-year results. MOBILE STREAMS < MOSE.L> releases first-half results. NEXUS MANAGEMENT meets with shareholders. SAFESTORE HOLDINGS holds its AGM. SILENCE THERAPEUTICS issues full-year results. TED BAKER releases full-year results.


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(Editing by Dan Lalor)