RPT-European shares steady, held back by miners

Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:42am EDT

LONDON Aug 15 (Reuters) - European shares ended flat on Wednesday, consolidating after a recent strong rally and held back by weaker mining stocks after downbeat results from Eurasian Natural Resources.

The Kazakh miner was easily the top faller, off 8.9 percent, after the group slashed its interim dividend as lower production volumes and price weakness in its steelmaking commodities dragged first-half profit down 41 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed at 1,101.68, having risen 0.7 percent on Tuesday, in volume at only 53 percent of its 90-day daily average, with many businesses across Europe shut for Assumption Day holidays.

"Its risk-off time again for investors as fever pitch expectations of central bank action are starting to wane along with the euro," Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor, said.

"Euro zone economic data rarely fails to disappoint while net borrowing by Spanish banks continues to trend higher. Investors should be nervous at these levels."

The index has jumped around 8 percent since late July when ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank was "ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro", sparking expectations of bold measures to help lower the borrowing costs of debt-stricken Spain and Italy.

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