* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.05 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.2 pct
* Seadrill falls after below-forecast earnings
* Marine Harvest results hit by Russian sanctions
* Charts show bullish signals for European indexes
By Atul Prakash and Blaise Robinson
LONDON, Aug 27 European shares steadied on
Wednesday, pausing after a 2-1/2-week rally, after data showing
German consumer morale fell for the first time in more than
1-1/2 years curbed appetite for stocks.
Falls by individual companies also put pressure on the
market, with Seadrill, the world's biggest offshore
driller by market capitalisation, down 6 percent after its
second-quarter earnings missed forecasts.
The impact of the Ukrainian crisis and tensions between the
West and Moscow were visible again in European company results
on Wednesday. Marine Harvest, the world's largest
salmon farmer, said it expected Russian sanctions to pose
short-term challenges. Its shares fell 2 percent.
Market research group GfK said on Wednesday its
forward-looking consumer sentiment indicator, based on a survey
of around 2,000 Germans, fell to 8.6 going into September from a
downwardly revised 8.9 in August.
It was the biggest drop in more than three years and below
the forecast in a Reuters poll for 9.0, undershooting even the
most pessimistic estimate of 8.7. GfK said it was the first
decline since January 2013.
"Confidence is still clearly dented as a result of the
crisis in eastern Ukraine, while the overall slowdown in the
euro area is probably itself starting to weigh on consumer and
business confidence," Alpari analyst Craig Erlam said.
French stocks slightly underperformed, with France's CAC 40
dipping 0.2 percent, trimming recent sharp gains.
After the close on Tuesday, France's President Francois
Hollande replaced his maverick leftist economy minister Arnaud
Montebourg with Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild partner, in
a reshuffle aimed at reconciling his efforts to revive the
stagnant French economy with deficit-cutting orthodoxy.
At 1038 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was 0.05 percent higher at 1,377.58 points,
following a 6 percent rally since Aug 8. The euro zone's
blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.2 percent.
Analysts, however, stayed positive on the market's outlook.
"European indexes have pierced all the resistance zones,
such as the trend lines, the 50-day and 200-day moving averages,
the 50 percent retracement levels of the latest correction.
They're now set to revisit 2014 highs," Aurel BGC analyst Gerard
European stocks have rallied as fears of an escalation in
the Ukrainian crisis eased and comments from European Central
Bank President Mario Draghi fuelled speculation the ECB could
embark on a large-scale asset-buying scheme to revive inflation.
Late on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
promised after negotiations with Russia's Vladimir Putin to work
on an urgent ceasefire plan to defuse the separatist conflict in
the east of his former Soviet republic.
Speaking on Friday at a global central banking conference in
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, ECB President Mario Draghi said the
central bank was prepared to respond with all its "available"
tools should inflation drop further.
Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a
newspaper on Wednesday that European Central Bank chief Mario
Draghi had been "over-interpreted" after suggesting that fiscal
policy could play a greater role in promoting growth.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Louise Heavens)