European shares steady ahead of euro zone meeting

lunes 16 de febrero de 2015 05:34 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, hovers just below 7-year high

* Euro zone talks expected to begin at 1400 GMT

* Actelion falls after warning on impact of higher franc

* Further share buybacks seen in Europe

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - European stocks were steady in early trading on Monday, taking a breather following last week's sharp gains, as investors awaited a euro zone finance ministers' meeting in Brussels to see if common ground will be found with Greece's new government.

Shares in Switzerland's Actelion fell as much as 4.9 percent after warning that a surging franc following the Swiss central bank's removal of a cap on the currency against the euro will weigh on results.

Swiss stocks have slipped since the surprise decision by the Swiss National Bank to remove the cap in mid-January, which sent the franc surging. The Swiss benchmark index SMI is down 5.8 percent since then, with Actelion the most hit, down 15 percent.

At 0915 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.01 percent at 1,502.65 points, just below a seven-year high hit during the session on Friday.   Continuación...