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* Whitbread tops FTSE 100 after signs of demand pick-up
* Trainline surges after higher group net ticket sales
* FTSE 100 down 0.4%, FTSE 250 off 0.4% (Updates to close)
June 17 (Reuters) - Miners knocked London’s FTSE 100 index off 16-month highs on Thursday as a hawkish turn by the U.S. Federal Reserve hit commodity prices, although Britain’s plans to ease travel restrictions allowed airline shares to buck the trend.
The blue-chip index ended 0.4% down, snapping its five-day winning streak and marked its biggest percentage fall in two weeks.
Base and precious metal miners slid 3.0% and 3.5% respectively, as commodity prices slipped after the Fed signalled it could raise rates earlier than expected.
“The U.S. Federal Reserve has proved a bit of an unreliable partner to the markets, promising not to raise rates too far or too fast and then suddenly announcing an acceleration in its plans on this front,” said Danni Hewson, analyst at AJ Bell in a note.
“It is a reminder that investors will eventually have to confront the reality that the current ultra-loose monetary policy won’t last forever.”
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index declined 0.4%. Dr. Martens slipped 11.5% to the bottom of the index even after the classic British boot brand reported a 22% rise in its annual core earnings.
Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell fell 1.5% and 0.7% respectively, tracking weaker crude.
Giving hope to travel companies, Britain said it was considering allowing people who are double vaccinated against COVID-19 to enjoy a foreign holiday without intrusive red tape.
Airlines, including Wizz Air, British Airways-owner IAG, EasyJet Plc and Ryanair Holdings jumped between 0.8% and 3%.
While travel-related stocks gained 0.6% as companies, including TUI AG, InterContinental Hotels Group PLC and Jet2, rose between 1.1% and 4.4%.
Premier Inn-owner Whitbread gained 1.9% after saying hotel bookings in its tourist locations picked up in the run-up to the summer travel season.
Trainline climbed 5.1% after the rail operator’s group net ticket sales hit the highest since the start of the pandemic. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Barbara Lewis)