* Pan-European FTSEurofirst index 300 flat
* Coloplast slips on negative broker comments
* Telecom Italia up on report Vivendi to increase stake
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - European equities surrendered early gains and turned flat in cautious trading on Wednesday, with investors thought reluctant to place strong bets before a Federal Reserve statement that could provide hints on the timing of a U.S. rate hike.
Danish medical equipment maker Coloplast was the biggest faller after a string of banks cut their target price for the stock, a day after the company lowered its guidance for 2014/15. Its shares fell 2.8 percent, having dropped 7.8 percent in the previous session.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was flat at 1,528.39 points by 0834 GMT. It has risen as high as 1,533.97 points earlier in the session, buoyed by a slight gain in U.S. shares on Tuesday.
“In the early trading session, the market reacted to a higher close in the U.S. market. But investors’ focus later shifted to the Fed meeting and the Greek debt situation,” Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit, said.
“The fear is that the Fed could provide more hints about the start of a rate hike from September.”
The Fed statement is due at 1800 GMT, followed by Chair Janet Yellen’s news conference half an hour later, with analysts expecting her to focus on signs the economy is recovering after a bumpy start to the year.
“Nobody expects the Fed to undertake any change in interest rates today. However, opinions are differing widely ... with many hoping that Yellen will shed some light on this during the press conference,” Markus Huber, senior analyst at Peregrine & Black, said.
In Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused its creditors of trying to “humiliate” Greeks with more cuts as he defied a growing drumbeat of warnings that Europe was preparing for his country to leave the euro.
Greece needs fresh funds to avoid defaulting on a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund on June 30, which could drive it towards the euro zone exit.
However, Greek shares rose 0.7 percent, with some analysts saying that they expect both sides to reach an agreement eventually. The country’s benchmark index has fallen 14 percent this year, underperforming an 11 percent rise for the FTSEurofirst 300.
On the positive side, Telecom Italia rose 3.4 percent after a Reuters report saying that Vivendi planned to increase its stake in the company. Vivendi and Telecom Italia declined to comment.
Remy Cointreau rose 5.7 percent after the drinks maker said it will hand investors a hefty dividend increase after annual operating profit grew 13.5 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 David Goodman)