10 de marzo de 2016 / 11:26 / en 2 años

European stocks steady before ECB, insurers up

* Aviva, Hannover Re among top gainers after results

* Lagardere slumps after results

* Miners top sectoral faller

* Expectations of more easing from ECB later (Adds details, updates share prices)

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - European shares were little changed on Thursday, with weaker mining stocks offsetting gains in insurers such as Aviva and Hannover Re, while expectations of more stimulus measures from the European Central Bank also supported equities.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index < .STOXX50E> both edged down around 0.1 percent by 1100 GMT.

The ECB is set to unveil its second stimulus cocktail in three months on Thursday, spurred by fears that low energy costs are feeding into wages and prices, potentially perpetuating ultra-low inflation.

The euro zone’s central bank is widely expected to cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory and adjust its 1.5 trillion euro asset-buying scheme, hoping to boost prices after inflation dipped back into negative territory last month.

Prospects of more action from the ECB put the euro under pressure on currency markets, and this in turn helped European stocks, since a weaker euro makes European companies’ exports more affordable overseas.

“The weak euro is positive for equities,” said Hantec Markets’ analyst Richard Perry.

British insurer Aviva rose 4 percent after posting higher profits and dividends, while reinsurer Hannover Re also climbed after it increased its total dividend and its net profit surpassed the billion-euro mark for the first time.

However, Lagardere shares slumped 10 percent after results from the media group underwhelmed investors, while fertiliser group K+S also fell 6.4 percent after it warned of a significant drop in operating profit this year.

The mining sector index fell 1 percent after copper prices fell further from a four-month high reached last week.

Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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