(Updates futures, adds news items)

May 31 - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening higher on Friday, with futures up 0.15%.

* JD SPORTS FASHION: British sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion kept profit guidance for its 2024/25 year, though it said the market was "volatile" with underlying sales down 0.7% in its first quarter.

* NATWEST GROUP: The British government has


1.24 billion pounds ($1.58 billion) worth of shares in Natwest Group back to the lender, decreasing its stake to about 22.5% from nearly 26% previously.

* NATIONWIDE-VIRGIN MONEY: Britain's competition regulator said it had

started a probe

into Nationwide Building Society's proposed 2.9 billion pound all-cash deal to buy Virgin Money UK that was announced in March.

* ANGLO AMERICAN: Anglo American is starting a formal process to sell its coal assets and explore options for its nickel operations after fending off a takeover threat from bigger rival BHP Group, Chief Executive Duncan Wanblad said.

* BUSINESS OPTIMISM: British businesses are their most confident in eight years and their hiring plans are the strongest since 2017, according to a survey published that added to signs of a recovery in the economy as a national election approaches.

* OIL: Oil falls as Fed policymakers look to maintain rate cuts, gasoline stocks rise

* GOLD: Gold flat ahead of U.S. data, but set for 4th straight monthly gain

* METALS: Copper set for monthly increase but weak China demand cap gains

* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on:


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines (Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru)