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* Miners down on weakness in iron ore
* Airlines gain on prospect of easing travel rules
* FTSE 100 down 1.2%, FTSE 250 off 0.2%
Sept 17 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 ended lower on Friday,
weighed by a slump in mining stocks, while British retail sales
fell unexpectedly in August, adding to concerns about economic
After rising as much as 0.9%, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index
ended 1.2% lower, and marked its third consecutive week
in red. The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index
Leading declines were base metal miners
including Anglo American, Rio Tinto, BHP Group
and Glencore down between 2.6% and 8.2%,
tracking weakness in iron ore.
"I think the market is starting to get to grips with what
potential contagion there is involved with how something like
Evergrande going down would ripple around the world in terms of
demand for things like iron ore," said Keith Temperton, sales
trader at Forte Securities.
British retail sales dropped 0.9% on the month in August
versus a Reuters poll for a rise of 0.5%, after data earlier
this week pointed towards a sharp recovery in the jobs market
and a spike in inflation.
Investor focus will now be on the outcome of Bank of
England's (BoE) policy meeting next week.
"Next week's policy decision should reaffirm that some
tightening will be needed over the next few years to keep
inflation (and the economy) in check. But we don't expect the
BoE to conclude that there is a sufficient case yet for
near-term rate hikes," Deutsche Bank economist Sanjay Raja said.
The FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 indexes have declined about
1.2% and 0.6% this week, as a better-than-expected labour market
recovery and rising price pressures have fuelled concerns of an
early tapering of stimulus measures by the Bank of England.
Airlines Wizz Air, Easyjet and British
Airways owner IAG, and holiday company TUI AG
rose between 2.2% and 5.7%, as Britain was set to consider
easing its COVID-19 rules for international travel.
Wickes Group jumped 3.3% to the top of FTSE 250
index after Deutsche upgraded the DIY retailer to "buy" from
(Reporting by Devik Jain and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by
Uttaresh.V, Shounak Dasgupta and David Gregorio)