European shares hover near 7-week highs, Maersk underpins
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* STOXX Europe 600 index trades flat
* Maersk surges after earnings update
* Miners track weaker metals prices
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - European shares steadied after setting a fresh seven-week high on Friday, with weaker miners offsetting gains in companies such as A.P. Moller-Maersk , which rose sharply following its earnings update.
Shares in Maersk surged 5 percent, the top gainer in the pan-European STOXX 600 index, after the Danish shipping and oil giant stuck to its 2016 forecast despite a sharp fall in quarterly net profit.
The second-quarter reporting season is entering into its final stages. So far, 88 percent companies in the STOXX 600 index have reported results, of which 61 percent have met or beaten earnings per share (EPS) forecasts. However, the second-quarter earnings are set to fall about 8 percent from last year.
Dennis Jose, European equity strategist at Barclays, said that the EPS beat was on the back of a cut in consensus estimates heading into the reporting season. Continuación...