* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.7 pct, after gaining 0.8 pct on Friday
* Pirelli rises after takeover bid from ChemChina
* Euro’s rebound after slump impacts auto stocks
* Athens’ ATG rises 3 pct, but down 7 pct since start of 2015
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - European shares slipped from multi-year highs on Monday, with car stocks hurt by a rise in the euro and lingering worries over Greece leading investors to book profits.
The STOXX Europe 600 Autos Index, which has risen around 30 percent this year, underperformed. Volkswagen fell 3.4 percent while Peugeot declined 2.3 percent.
The euro has fallen about 25 percent against the dollar over the past year, helping the auto industry by making exports cheaper.
However, the euro rebounded on Monday after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve officials, who said it was unclear how much more the dollar would strengthen against the euro.
Traders said lingering uncertainty over Greece was also pegging back European stock markets.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, pressing for cash to keep his country afloat, began talks with Germany’s Angela Merkel on Monday after Berlin ruled out any breakthrough in differences with the euro zone over Athens’s international bailout.
“The market went up too far and too fast, and we are just pausing for a bit of breath. We also have unresolved issues over Greece, which could cause a short-term correction,” said Michel Juvet, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Bordier.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.7 percent to 1,600.24 points, having climbed 0.8 percent on Friday to hit a 7-1/2-year high of 1,613.80 points.
Germany’s DAX, which hit a record high of 12,219.05 points last week, also shed 1.2 percent to 11,895.84 points.
Greek bond yields dipped while Greece’s benchmark equity index rose 3 percent, although the Greek stock market remains down by around 7 percent since the start of 2015.
Greek bonds and stocks won some respite last week after Tsipras assured European Union creditors he would soon present a full set of economic reforms to help release the cash.
Yet with deposits flowing out of Greek banks and the government set to run out of money in coming weeks, Tsipras is losing time to persuade EU partners to release the funds.
Shares in Pirelli rose 1.8 percent after China National Chemical Corp agreed to buy the iconic Italian tyre maker in a 7.1 billion euro ($7.7 billion) deal.
Gary Paulin, co-founder of equity brokerage Aviate Global, said Europe was still “the place to be” given new economic stimulus measures undertaken by the European Central Bank.
“While we have had some big inflows into Europe these past few weeks, we are still a long way from reversing the cumulative outflows seen since the crisis began,” he said.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
$1 = 0.9268 euros Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Ralph Boulton