* FTSE 100 ends down 0.4 pct at 6,800.56 points
* FTSE falls for first time in a week
* Housebuilders hit by comments from BoE's Miles
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, June 23 Britain's top equity index fell
on Monday for the first time in a week as declines in
housebuilding shares weighed on the market, which had been
approaching record highs.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which had risen for
the last four sessions, ended down by 0.4 percent, or 24.64
points, at 6,800.56 points - some 2 percent below a December
1999 record high of 6,950.60 points.
"I suspect that the market will keep trending up, but for
the moment we're neutral on it," said Logic Investments'
director of trading Darren Easton.
Housebuilder Barratt Developments fell 2.7 percent
while rival Persimmon declined by 1.1 percent.
The companies were hit by comments over the weekend from
David Miles, seen as one of the Bank of England's most dovish
policymakers, who said it was increasingly likely he would vote
to raise interest rates before leaving the BoE's monetary policy
committee next May.
The housebuilding and property sector has been one of the
best-performing segments of the UK stock market. Record low
interest rates and home-buying incentives pushed the FTSE 350
Construction & Building Materials Index up 23.4
percent last year.
However, the likelihood that interest rates may start to
rise has since tempered its performance, and the construction
and building materials index fell 2.4 percent on Monday.
"Interest rates may be rising sooner rather than later, and
that's been the cause for a bit of a backlash for the
housebuilders," said JNF Capital trader Rick Jones.
Although the FTSE has edged up by around 1 percent since the
start of 2014, traders say its progress has been hampered by the
index's inability so far to get past the 6,900 point barrier.
"Technically the market is a little bit in no man's land and
needs to clear 6,900 to the upside for further gains," said Mike
Mason, senior trader at Sucden Financial.
(Additional reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Catherine