(Adds company news and futures)
Feb 2 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 futures up 0.03 percent ahead of the cash market open on Friday.
* Cobham: British aerospace and defence electronics group Cobham said on Friday it has agreed to sell its AvComm and Wireless test businesses to Viavi Solutions for $455 million, as part of the latest stage of a turnaround plan.
* AstraZeneca expects to increase drug sales at a low single-digit percentage rate this year as new medicines win market share and the company puts patent losses behind it, although the need to invest in launches will weigh on profit.
* BT: BT, Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile provider, broadly met market forecasts with a 25 percent rise in third-quarter pretax profit and said it remained confident about its full-year outcome.
* PROVIDENT: Troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial has appointed acting chairman Malcolm Le May as its CEO with immediate effect, the company said on Friday.
* ASTRAZENECA: Array BioPharma Inc on Thursday sued AstraZeneca , accusing the pharmaceutical company of refusing to pay required royalties for a cancer drug after entering into an $8.5 billion collaboration with Merck & Co.
* PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: British lender Provident Financial Plc will appoint its interim executive chairman, Malcolm Le May, as the company’s new chief executive, Sky News reported on Thursday.
* IWG: Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp and Brookfield Asset Management said on Thursday they do not intend to make an offer for IWG Plc, sending shares of the British serviced office provider down more than 20 percent.
* BRITAIN INTEREST RATE: After waiting for over 10 years for a Bank of England (BoE) interest rate increase, investors are increasingly expecting another one to come along soon.
* OIL: Oil rose for a third day on Friday after a survey showed strong compliance with output cuts by OPEC and others including Russia, offsetting concerns about surging U.S. production.
* GOLD: Gold prices edged down on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data later in the day, with traders looking for any implications for the outlook for U.S. monetary policy over the rest of the year.
* The UK blue chip index fell 0.6 percent to a six-week low on Thursday, after Vodafone posted a disappointing trading update and dragged British shares into a third day of losses as outsourcing firms failed to recover after Capita’s profit warning during the previous session.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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