The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index is seen opening up 28-30 points, or 0.6 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with investors awaiting central bank rate decisions from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, in advance of a crucial EU summit on Friday.

The Bank of England is expected to make no change to its monetary policy when its latest monthly decision is made at 12 p.m.

Economists expect the British central bank to keep interest rates at their record low of 0.50 percent and to wait before expanding its current asset purchase programme, which ends in February.

The ECB, however, is expected to cut rates and unveil a new package of bank aid, while investors will also look for any hint the central bank will intensify its bond buying support for the euro zone's struggling peripheral economies, setting the stage for Friday's critical euro zone summit.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will propose to the summit a plan to impose mandatory penalties on euro zone states that exceed deficit targets, aiming to restore market confidence and prevent the region's debt crisis from spiralling out of control.

The UK blue chip index ended down 21.81 points, or 0.4 percent on Wednesday at 5,546.91, after a choppy session, reversing from an intra-day high of 5,631.88, as optimism about the outcome of the EU summit waxed and waned.

U.S. blue chips <.DJI> ended 0.4 percent higher on Wednesday, also after a volatile session, lifted by a media report -- later denied -- that the G20 was preparing a $600 billion lending facility for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help Europe.

And Asian equities were weaker on Thursday with the MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> down 0.8 percent, while Tokyo's Nikkei share average <.N225> lost 0.7 percent.

No major British economic data will be released on Thursday, while across the Atlantic the latest weekly U.S. jobless claims will be released at 1330 GMT, with October U.S. wholesale inventories due at 3 p.m.

UK stocks to watch on Thursday are:


The bank said on Thursday that it expects pretax profit to rise by at least 10 percent this year to another record, helped by a strong performance in emerging markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong.


The retailer issues a third-quarter trading update.


The electronic components distributor posts third-quarter results.


The household products firm issues a trading update.


The equipment hire group reports second-quarter results.


The photo booths group unveils first-half results.


The luxury group delivers first-half results.


The social care services specialist unveils full-year results.


The global logistics provider posts full-year results.


The Australia-based energy firm holds its annual general meeting.


The base and precious metals explorer holds its annual general meeting.


The vetinary services group holds its annual general meeting.


The oil and gas explorer and producer holds its annual general meeting.