July 21, 2016 / 7:17 AM / 2 years ago

European shares steadied by Unilever but airline stocks slump

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - European shares were steady on Thursday, propped up by gains at consumer goods group Unilever and aluminum producer Norsk Hydro, although airline stocks slumped.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index and the similar FTSEurofirst 300 were both flat, with many investors focusing on the European Central Bank’s meeting later in the day, at which the ECB is all but certain to keep rates firmly on hold.

Unilever’s shares rose 0.6 percent, with the stock near record highs reached earlier this month, after the company’s better-than-expected sales.

Norsk Hydro surged 6 percent after the company raised its 2016 forecast for aluminum global demand.

However, airline stocks fell sharply. Lufthansa slid 6 percent after issuing a profit warning, with rival Air France-KLM also falling 4.6 percent, while easyJet dropped 4.8 percent after posting lower revenues. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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