British shares muted ahead of economic data; airlines skid

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) – British shares struggled for direction on Friday as investors stayed away from making big bets ahead of domestic construction activity data and U.S. jobs numbers, while airline stocks came under pressure on tightening of travel restrictions.

The blue-chip was flat. British airways owner IAG (LON:) slipped 2% after Britain removed Portugal from its quarantine-free travel list, and added seven more countries to its red list.

Other airlines including Ryanair Holdings, Wizz Air and EasyJet fell between 1% and 2.4%.

The domestically focused mid-cap inched 0.1% higher.

Asian shares tracked Wall Street lower as signs of a firming U.S. economy stoked worries about higher inflation and an earlier withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus.

All eyes are now on the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for May due later in the day.

Among other stock, Reckitt Benckiser Group gained 1.3% after HSBC raised its price target on the stock.

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