* European markets hit by Scotland breakaway concerns
* Traders also cite concerns over fragile Ukraine truce
* Poll shows ‘Yes’ to Scotland independence at 51 pct
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Monday and traders said uncertainty about whether a Ukraine ceasefire would hold and concerns over Scotland’s independence referendum were prompting investors to trim their equity positions.
Continental European equity markets did not lose as much as Britain’s FTSE 100, which shed 0.5 percent, but they were nevertheless pegged back in negative territory.
The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index slipped 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC declined by 0.2 percent. Germany’s DAX was flat.
Traders said the German stock market was propped up by data on Monday that showed a record trade surplus of 22.2 billion euros ($28.72 billion) in July, which suggested that Europe’s largest economy could bounce back strongly in the third quarter after suffering a surprise contraction in the second.
JNF Capital investment manager Ed Smyth said the DAX could return back to record levels of more than 10,000 points - last seen in June - in the next two months.
Others were more cautious with an eye on tensions in Ukraine, where Kiev forces are confronting pro-Russian separatists, and the possible impact of EU sanctions against Russia on German companies.
“I am ‘short’ on the DAX, and I‘m looking for a pullback,” said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management.
A YouGov survey for the Sunday Times newspaper put supporters of Scottish independence at 51 percent against the “no” camp at 49 percent, overturning a 22-point lead for the unionist campaign in just a month.
Shares in Scottish-based financial stocks were among the worst performers in Europe. The Scottish vote is on Sept. 18.
Analysts and economists have questioned whether an independent Scotland will be able to host large financial institutions. Banking industry sources told Reuters last week that Lloyds is considering moving its registered offices to London if Scots vote for independence.
“I think the euro zone stock markets will fall a bit if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ for independence, mainly because of the uncertainty that this will create,” said Rupert Baker, a European equity sales executive at Mirabaud Securities.
Michel Juvet, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Bordier, said investors feared a Scottish vote for independence could reignite separatist movements elsewhere in Europe, such as the Catalan movement seeking to break away from Spain.
“The consequences in Europe could be bad,” said Juvet.
However, Goldman Sachs’ equity strategists kept a positive overview for European stock markets, which rallied last week after a surprise interest rate cut and other major measures by the European Central Bank to support the euro zone economy.
The Goldman Sachs’ strategists saw further gains in European stocks in the coming months, and raised their rating on equities to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ on a 3-month basis.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (1 US dollar = 0.7730 euro) (additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Sonya Hepinstall)