European shares recoup losses, end steady after U.S. data
* FTSEurofirst 300 index closes 0.06 percent higher
* Pan-European index recovers after Philadelphia data
* Reuters poll shows analyst bullish on longer-term outlook
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - European shares recouped early losses to finish steady on Thursday after data showing robust factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region raised expectations that U.S. economic recovery remained on track.
After falling as much as 1 percent earlier on concerns about an earlier-than-expected rise in U.S. rates, the FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.06 percent higher at 1,305.87 points, helped by data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank showing its business activity index rose to 9.0 in March from -6.3 in February.
Some insurers, including AXA and Aegon, were seen benefiting from the shift in the interest rate outlook and rose 3.9 percent and 4.2 percent respectively.
Among other risers, French aerospace and defence supplier Zodiac Aerospace gained 5.4 percent to sit at the top of FTSEurofirst 300. It said on Wednesday it was ready to make new acquisitions after posting a 9.2 percent rise in revenue for the first six months of its financial year.
"The worst-case scenario for the global market right now is a soft patch in the United States, but the Philadelphia data supports the idea that we haven't got one and recent weaker U.S. economic numbers are weather-related," Graham Bishop, senior equity strategist at Exane BNP Paribas, said. Continuación...