* FTSEurofirst 300 ends 0.1 pct up, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.1
* Seadrill falls after below-forecast earnings
* Marine Harvest results hit by Russian sanctions
* Charts show bullish signals for European indexes
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Aug 27 European shares steadied near a
one-month high on Wednesday, pausing after a 2-1/2-week rally,
as a drop in German consumer morale and negative corporate news
curbed appetite for stocks.
Declines in individual shares included UK grocers Sainsbury
and Tesco, slipping 2.6 percent and 1.1
percent respectively after data from Kantar Worldpanel showed UK
grocery market sales rose 0.8 percent in the 12 weeks to Aug.
17, a 10-year low.
And Seadrill, the world's biggest offshore driller
by market capitalisation, fell 2.5 percent after its
second-quarter earnings missed forecasts.
The impact of the Ukraine 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 German 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 first drop since January 2013 and the biggest
decline in more than three years. A Reuters poll had forecast a
reading of 9.0.
"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 ended flat after 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 and rein in the deficit.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed
1.36 points higher, or up 0.1 percent, at 1,378.19 points, after
hitting a one-month peak earlier in the session, following a 6
percent rally since Aug 8. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX
50 dropped 0.1 percent, while Germany's DAX
fell 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 the
economy and 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 last 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 said in
remarks published in 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
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by
Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton)