European shares steady, bid activity lifts Altice
* FTSEurofirst and Euro STOXX 50 both steady
* Altice rises on Cablevision deal
* Fed rate decision due at 1800 GMT
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, Sept 17 (Reuters) - European shares were steady at midday on Thursday, with renewed dealmaking activity lifting telecoms company Altice, while many investors refrained from taking up big positions before the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate decision.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index were both trading almost flat.
Despite caution ahead of the U.S. rate decision due at 1800 GMT, which could see the first hike since 2006, M&A activity continued to surface, driven by large piles of corporate cash and expectations acquisitions will not get cheaper.
"Liquidity makes possible the impossible," Ifigest fund manager Roberto Lottici said. "Yet the global economy battles to grow and the best thing the Fed can do is keep rates steady but clearly set the path for a hike in the coming months."
The latest poll by Reuters, on Wednesday, also showed the majority of economists now expect no hike, although it remains an extremely close call. Continuación...