* 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 on Wednesday, retreating further from 7-1/2-year highs hit last week, with Hermes falling after posting disappointing results.
Shares in the French luxury goods maker fell 1.9 percent after the group 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 3.6 percent and 7.5 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 3.2 percent after Eurazeo and Colony Capital sold a near 10-percent stake in the hotel group.
By 0906 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,602.02 points.
The index has soared 17 percent since the start of the year, as investors bet the recent sharp drop in the euro currency will boost the region’s economy and lift corporate results.
“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.
Data released on Wednesday showed German business morale rose for the fifth month in a row in March, hitting its highest level since July 2014, while 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.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX index flat and France’s CAC 40 down 0.2 percent.
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)