European shares mark time ahead of ECB; Standard Life surges
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, slips from 2-month high
* Standard Life jumps on news of Canadian unit sale
* Big open interests for calls on euro zone bank index
By Francesco Canepa and Blaise Robinson
LONDON/PARIS, Sept 4 (Reuters) - European shares marked time on Thursday after sharp gains in the previous session as investors waited to see whether the European Central Bank would unveil further measures to avoid deflation.
Shares in Standard Life bucked the trend and surged 7.9 percent after the financial services group agreed to sell its Canadian operations for about $3.7 billion to Manulife Financial.
At 0929 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,384.23 points, edging off a two-month high hit in the previous session.
The benchmark index has gained nearly 7 percent since early August, fuelled by speculation the ECB may do more to stimulate the economy, possibly launching an asset-purchase programme, known in the market as quantitative easing (QE).
"Stocks have been retracing the summer correction, but the rally now lacks momentum ahead of the ECB. A lot has been priced in already so risks are on the downside if Draghi disappoints," FXCM analyst Vincent Ganne said. Continuación...