LONDON Feb 28 European shares edged higher
early on Friday after falling for three days, with expectations
that a further drop in euro zone inflation may prompt the
European Central Bank to ease policy further helping cyclical
Figures due at 1000 GMT are likely to show inflation in the
currency bloc falling to 0.7 percent in February from 0.8
percent in the previous month, according to a Reuters survey,
but some analysts expected an even lower reading of 0.6 percent.
One-third of economists polled by Reuters have pencilled in
a cut in the ECB's refinancing rate from the current 0.25
percent at its March 6 meeting.
At 0812 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.2
percent at 1,348.35 points, supported by the insurance, energy
and technology sectors. The index headed for its best month
since July last year, however some poor company earnings and
Ukraine tensions kept gains under check, traders said.
Bayer, Germany's largest drugmaker, fell 1
percent after posting a 3.1 percent decline in adjusted core
earnings, while Austrian lender Erste Group dropped
7.5 percent after proposing to halve its dividend.