* FTSEurofirst 300 hovers below 7-1/2 year high
* Steel producers rally after EU says to impose duties
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, March 25 (Reuters) - European shares dipped in early trading on Wednesday to just below 7-1/2-year highs with investors waiting for clues on the outlook for Germany’s economy from a business confidence survey due out at 0900 GMT.
Shares in Hermes were standout losers, falling 1.9 percent after the French luxury goods maker said foreign exchange rates had dragged its margins lower. Hermes has a strong exposure to Japan.
Shares in Acerinox, Outokumpu and Aperam surged between about 4 percent and 6 percent after Europe said it will impose punitive anti-dumping duties on stainless steel cold-rolled sheet from China and Taiwan.
The EU will apply tariffs of about 24-25 percent for imports from China and of about 11-12 percent for Taiwanese product, following a complaint lodged in May 2014 by the European steel producers association, Eurofer.
Accor fell 3.6 percent after Eurazeo and Colony Capital sold a near 10-percent stake in the hotel group.
By 0846 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,601.41 points.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX index up 0.06 percent, and France’s CAC 40 down 0.1 percent.
Data released on Wednesday showed French business morale stood at its highest in nearly three years in March.
On Tuesday, figures showed Germany’s private sector grew in March at its strongest rate since July.
“The macro newsflows in Europe is quite positive, but after such a rally the market needs to catch its breath. At this point a pause is needed, while the medium-term trend remains very positive,” IG France chief market analyst, Alexandre Baradez, said.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Louise Ireland)