European shares hover near 7-week highs, Maersk underpins
* STOXX Europe 600 index trades down 0.2 pct
* Maersk rises after earnings update
* Miners track weaker metals prices (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - European shares edged back 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 ended up 3.1 percent, having risen as much as 6.9 percent in early deals, 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.
"Other than autos and software companies, few have seen material upgrades to EPS estimates. The now familiar pattern of companies beating lowered expectations, without a subsequent upgrade to EPS forecasts, has repeated itself," he said. Continuación...