UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec. 22

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is seen opening higher on Wednesday, with futures FFIc1 up 0.28%.

* METRO BANK: The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority has fined Metro Bank METRO.L 5.38 million pounds ($7.13 million) for failures in its regulatory reporting governance and controls, it said.

* TAYLOR WIMPEY: UK's third-largest homebuilder Taylor Wimpey TW.L will drop contract terms that lock leaseholders into rents that double every 10 years, ending a year-long probe into the company by the British competition watchdog, the regulator said.

* PENNON GROUP: British water company Pennon Group PNN.L said it will offer undertakings to the UK's competition regulator by Dec. 31 as part of a review of its deal to acquire Bristol Water BTW_pa.L .

* SYNCONA: Healthcare investment firm Syncona Ltd SYNCS.L said Novartis AG NOVN.S will buy its Gyroscope Therapeutics unit for up to $1.5 billion as the Swiss drugmaker seeks access to the British firm's gene therapy for a blindness-causing disease.

* NATWEST: A unit of NatWest Group NWG.L agreed to pay about $35 million and pleaded guilty to wire and securities fraud in relation to a long-running scheme by some of its traders to manipulate U.S. Treasury debt markets.

* BHP GROUP: BHP Group BHP.AX said it would not match a takeover offer by billionaire Andrew Forrest's Wyloo Metals for Noront Resources Ltd NOT.V , essentially bowing out from a months-long tussle for the Canadian nickel miner.

* RIO TINTO: Rio Tinto Plc RIO.L , RIO.AX said it would buy the Rincon lithium project in Argentina for $825 million as the global miner builds its battery materials business.

* GOLD: Gold prices were stuck in a narrow trading range as market participants headed into year-end holidays, with safe-haven demand fuelled by the rapidly spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant countering a steady improvement in risk appetite.

* OIL: Oil prices were steady, with market players on the lookout for fuel demand pointers amid COVID-19 concerns after Singapore suspended quarantine-free travel and Australia renewed its vaccination push due to a surge in Omicron variant cases.

* A rebound in commodity and travel stocks drove UK shares higher on Tuesday, a day after the market hit a two-week low on concerns that surging cases of COVID-19 variant Omicron would spark fresh restrictions.

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


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Reporting By Amna Karimi in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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