European shares slip on US rate hike prospects; banks outperform
* FTSEurofirst index falls 0.3 pct
* Mining, oil shares hurt by weaker commodity prices
* Thomas Cook slumps after update, travel stocks off lows
* Banks lead gains as US rate increase looks more likely
By Danilo Masoni and Atul Prakash
MILAN/LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday as weaker oil and metals prices put pressure on commodities stocks and concern mounted that U.S. interest rates would be raised soon.
However, bank stocks rose, buoyed by the prospect of rising U.S. rates. Minutes from the Federal Reserve's April meeting showed most of its policymakers thought a June increase would be appropriate if the U.S. economy continued to improve .
"This more than expected hawkish tone from the minutes is sending European shares lower," said Stephane Ekolo, chief European strategist at Market Securities, except for "the banking sector, a clear winner in case the Fed start raising rates sooner than what the market anticipated.
Germany's Deutsche Bank rose 3.7 percent. A trader said Deutsche Bank would be one of the biggest beneficiaries among European banks if the Fed raises rates, thanks to its U.S. business. Continuación...