European shares ease from three-week highs after BOE keeps rates on hold
* FTSEurofirst 300, STOXX 600 up around 0.9 pct at close
* Markets trim gains after Bank of England decision
* Banks and auto stocks in demand (Adds detail, updates prices at close)
By Kit Rees and Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - European shares slipped from a three-week high on Thursday after the Bank of England surprised investors by keeping interest rates on hold.
The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 and the FTSEurofirst 300 indexes were both up 0.8 and 0.9 percent respectively at the close, having climbed earlier in the session to their highest since June 23 - the date when Britons voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.
European shares eased after the Bank of England caught investors off guard by keeping rates unchanged, while the UK's FTSE 100 index closed 0.2 percent lower as a surge in sterling made dollar-earning blue-chips less attractive.
Most economists taking part in a Reuters poll had expected the central bank to halve its Bank Rate to 0.25 percent in order to cushion the economy from the shock of the Brexit vote.
"Although the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) surprised many by remaining on hold, we still expect an easing of policy in the near future," Bill Street, head of Investments EMEA at State Street Global Advisors, said in a note. Continuación...