European shares steady ahead of euro zone meeting

viernes 20 de febrero de 2015 05:15 GYT

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

* France's PMI moves back above 50, German PMI also bullish

* Europe enjoying best earnings season in 3-1/2 years

* Valuation ratios hit highest since mid-2004

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) - European shares were steady on Friday morning, with a benchmark index hovering just below a seven-year high, ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Greece's bailout programme.

Shares in France's Gemalto sank as much as 10 percent in massive volumes after the firm said it would investigate a report saying U.S. and British spies had hacked the digital security group to steal its encryption keys.

"If these attacks were to be confirmed and did allow access to various communications, it would be very damaging for Gemalto's reputation," a Paris-based trader said.

Shares in food giant Danone dipped 1.2 percent after it made a cautious 2015 sales and profitability growth forecast, while Standard Life rose 2.4 percent after posting a 19 percent rise in operating profits.   Continuación...