European shares pause near highs, BMW slips
* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.1 pct * STOXX 50 halted by strong resistance level * BMW drops after lower-than-expected results By Blaise Robinson PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - European shares were steady in early trade on Tuesday, hovering around five-year highs as mixed results from blue chips and uncertainty in the run-up to an ECB policy meeting kept investor enthusiasm for equities in check. Shares in BMW dropped 4.2 percent after the German carmaker said quarterly profit at its auto unit fell more than expected, hurt by the cost of new technology and price discounts in core European markets. Results were brighter at Beiersdorf, with its stock up 3.8 percent. The maker of Nivea creams and lotions lifted its 2013 sales forecast and said it had gained market share from rivals in Europe. At 0843 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.04 percent at 1,293.05 points, after rising as high as 1,297.29 earlier, a level not seen since mid-2008. "We shouldn't see much action before Thursday," when the European Central Bank meets, said Guillaume Dumans, co-head of research firm 2Bremans. He said the only near-term catalysts that might spark further gains were U.S. GDP figures due on Friday and what he called a "probable" interest rate cut by the ECB on Thursday. "But investors are starting to worry about a rally that has mostly been fuelled by central bank action," he added Recent tame inflation figures in Europe have sparked speculation about a possible rate cut this week, though all but one of 23 euro money market traders polled by Reuters expect the ECB to leave borrowing costs unchanged. Also supporting the market on Tuesday were overnight signals from U.S. officials that the Federal Reserve was in no rush to cut its programme of bond purchases, backing market expectations that the equity-friendly stimulus will not be trimmed until early next year. Around Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 index was down 0.05 percent, Germany's DAX index down 0.08 percent, and France's CAC 40 down 0.1 percent. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.1 percent, at 3,054.94 points. The index has been stuck for a week below a strong resistance level at 3,077.24, which represents a peak hit in early 2011. Despite that, Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said he remained positive. "The trend is quite bullish at the moment, there's just no sign of weakness," he said. "At this point, investors who missed the rally so far are forced to jump in. The upside potential for the next three to four months is around 6 to 7 percent for indexes."