European shares steady after mixed earnings

jueves 26 de febrero de 2015 05:17 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, hovers below 7-year high

* Allianz drops as dividend hike disappoints

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - European stocks were steady in early trading on Thursday, taking a breather from a sharp two-month rally, with Allianz falling after its dividend rise disappointed.

Shares in Europe's largest insurer fell 2.6 percent, the biggest losers among blue-chips, as it raised its dividend by less than expected and results in asset management stalled following client defections at its U.S. unit Pimco.

Greek banking shares fell, dragged by renewed worries over the country's ability to make debt repayments to the IMF and the European Central Bank this year.

Shares in National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank , Bank of Piraeus and Eurobank were down 2.9-4.7 percent.

Belgian chemicals group Solvay rose 3.7 percent after saying it would pay out more to its shareholders following better-than-expected results.

About two thirds into Europe's earnings season, 55 percent companies have met or beaten profit forecasts. Overall, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow by 19.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be Europe's best season in 3-1/2 years.   Continuación...