UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Dec. 24

Dec 24 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE index is opened 0.1% higher on Friday.

* RECKITT: Reckitt Benckiser RKT.L said it will sell its E45 skincare brand and related sub-brands to Karo Pharma KARO.ST for 200 million pounds, as the British consumer goods maker shifts its focus to higher growth areas.

* RIO: Rio Tinto RIO.L plans to pause its lithium project in western Serbia after a municipality in the west of the country scrapped a plan to allocate land for the mine, the Beta news agency reported on Thursday, quoting the CEO of Rio's Serbian arm.

* HSBC: India's L&T Finance Holdings Ltd said on Thursday it is selling its mutual fund operations to HSBC Asset Management Private Ltd for $425 million in order to assist its lending business.

* METALS: Prices of industrial metals were mixed in rangebound Asian trading on Friday, as investors awaited fresh clues on how the rapidly-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant would affect global demand.

* OIL: Brent crude futures snapped a three-day rally on Friday in light holiday trading but the benchmark was still headed for a weekly gain, with the market focusing on next steps by OPEC+ and the impact of the Omicron variant.

* UK shares rose on Thursday as markets globally rallied following two research studies that suggested the effects of the Omicron coronavirus variant were less severe than the Delta variant.

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


> Financial Times

> Other business headlines

Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru )

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