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* STOXX Europe 600 falls 0.1 percent
* Banks drop again, continue losing run
* German industrial production sees steepest fall for 23 months
* Ashtead surges after lifting outlook
* Just Eat falls after Amazon launches rival delivery service
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - European shares remained just off an 8 month high on Wednesday, supported by a rise in Weir Group and well-received company results which helped to counteract weak data out of Germany.
The STOXX Europe 600 edged down 0.1 percent to 349.25. The index hit its highest level since January on Monday, before weak data from the United States saw it fall back in the previous session.
Weak data also hindered stocks on Wednesday, and Germany’s DAX underperformed slight gains for peripheral euro zone indexes after German industrial production unexpectedly fell in July. It recorded its steepest fall in 23 months.
Banks dropped again, and the sector was down 0.7 percent, the top sectoral faller. The sector has fallen in each of the last three sessions, down 2.8 percent over that time, as weak data has confirmed the low growth, low interest rate environment which has damaged banks’ earnings.
“The current backdrop is bad for bank profitability ... We need to see Germany as the growth powerhouse, because it’s not happening in other parts of the euro zone,” said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.
The top STOXX 600 riser was equipment rental firm Ashtead, which rose 8.7 percent after it said it saw full-year results coming in ahead of expectations.
Weir Group also rose, up 3.3 percent after Morgan Stanley raised the engineering group to “overweight” from “equal weight”.
Swiss firm Dorma+Kaba slumped 5.4 percent, set for its biggest one-day fall for 18 months, after its full-year results.
Travel stocks also came under pressure, led lower by airlines. Deutsche Bank cut its ratings on easyJet and Ryanair to hold, while Air France-KLM and Lufthansa were cut to sell.
The travel and leisure sector was down 0.6 percent.
Just Eat fell 3.1 percent after Amazon said it would start a rival operation “Amazon Restaurants” to do restaurant deliveries in London.
Top sectoral riser was the oil and gas sector, up 0.7 percent after crude prices were buoyed by the weaker dollar.
Editing by Jeremy Gaunt