(Repeats to additional subscribers)
* ECB keeps rates on hold
* Voestalpine and Johnson Matthey rise after results
* Spanish banks buoyed by HSBC comments
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) - European shares edged into negative territory on Thursday after OPEC failed to agree an output ceiling for oil and the European Central Bank revised its inflation and growth forecasts only slightly higher.
The pan-European STOXX 600 and FTSEurofirst 300 indexes were both down 0.3 percent by 1327 GMT, having fallen around 1 percent in the previous session.
Oil and gas shares were the top sectoral fallers, down 1 percent after an OPEC delegate told Reuters that OPEC was not changing its ouptut policy, meaning the organisation had failed to agree a new production ceiling.
The prospect of lower oil prices complicates the task of central banks as they attempt to battle deflation.
The ECB kept interest rates firmly on hold, as expected.
The ECB raised growth and inflation forecasts for the euro zone only modestly, by less than some had hoped.
President Mario Draghi said the ECB had lifted growth forecasts for 2016 but cut growth estimates for 2018, and raised its inflation forecast to just 0.2 percent from 0.1 for this year.
“He said that inflation was not going to pick up that strongly, despite oil prices being reasonably high,” said Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital.
“With what’s happened out at OPEC, that will produce downward pressure on oil, which could produce deflation in the euro zone.”
Providing support to the market, Voestalpine rose more than 5 percent.
The Austrian steel producer posted a full-year net profit above expectations, helped by its focus on better-quality steel and products which make it less vulnerable to price swings and competition from commodity steel imports.
A welcome set of results also underpinned shares in Johnson Matthey, which rose around 4 percent.
The British maker of metal catalysts for car emission-control devices also forecast higher results in the coming year due to restructuring and improved market conditions.
Banco Popular led Spanish banks higher with a 4.2 percent rise, supported by encouraging comments from HSBC on the sector.
“Combined with cost containment and improving asset quality, Spanish banks should continue to post growth in net profit. Concerns on the impact from lower rates look overdone and banks should continue to grow profits,” analysts at HSBC said in a note.
Today’s European research round-up
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA (Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; editing by Andrew Roche)