March 2, 2017 / 8:33 AM / a year ago

European shares steady, strong results boost Melrose and Subsea

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - European shares steadied early on Thursday, pausing after a strong rally in the previous session, with strong earnings updates driving shares in Melrose Industries and Subsea 7.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat in percentage terms by 0826 GMT. Basic resources stocks were again the top gainers, up 1 percent, after a more than 2.9 percent rise on Wednesday.

British mid-cap engineering turnaround specialist Melrose Industries was the top gainer and hit a record high after its full-year revenue more than tripled, helped by its acquisition of U.S. ventilation maker Nortek Industries.

Subsea 7, the Norwegian oil services company, was also among the top gainers, up 9.8 percent, after it posted a fourth-quarter earnings beat and said it would pay a special dividend.

Successful drug trials helped shares of Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche to gain 5.7 percent. Its Perjeta and Herceptin drugs reduced the recurrence of aggressive breast cancer, its key Aphinity study found.

However, British housebuilder Travis Perkins was a top European faller after it posted a decline in profit due to weak performance in its plumbing and heating business.

Italian eyewear maker Luxottica, in focus due to its mega-merger with French lens maker Essilor, was down 1.4 percent after it posted a slight drop in profit for 2016 after market close on Wednesday.

British mid-caps Centamin and Berkeley Group were down 4 and 3.9 percent respectively after going ex-dividend. RSA and Barclays bank also went ex-dividend on Thursday. (Reporting by Helen Reid)

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