(Adds company news items and futures)
Jan 3 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening 26 pointslower at 6,708 on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with FTSE 100futures .FFIc1 down 0.40 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* NEXT: British clothing retailer Next PlcNXT.L reported a rise in salesin the run-up to Christmas in line with its own expectations, confounding fearsof poor festive trading.
* ACACIA MINING: The new Barrick Gold CorpABX.TO is considering optionsfor its stake in Acacia Mining PLCACAA.L including possible sale, as Barrickworks to end a nearly two-year-long tax dispute in Tanzania that has effectivelyshuttered operations there.
* EX-DIVS: Auto Trader Group PlcAUTOA.L , British Land Company PlcBLND.L , Experian PlcEXPN.L will trade without entitlement to their latestdividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 0.7 points off the FTSE 100 according toReuters calculations.
* GOLD: Gold prices inched up on Thursday as a dip in Asian equities andworries about a sharp global economic slowdown propelled demand for saferinvestments.
* OIL: Oil prices fell on Thursday amid volatile currency and stock markets,and as analysts warned of an economic slowdown for 2019 just as crude supply isrising globally.
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.1 percent higher at 6734.23 on Wednesday,helped by investor appetite for stocks deemed less risky and also by a comebackfor oil majors despite weak data from China.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
* UK CORPORATE DIARY: Next Plc NXT.L Trading statement Staffline Group Plc STAF.L Trading statement
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial TimesPRESS/FT
> Other business headlines PRESS/GB Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * For Top News : http://topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru) ((Karina.Dsouza@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S.+91 80 6749 6373; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging:email@example.com))
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