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* FTSE 100 steadies; FTMC up 0.3 pct
* NMC Health hits record high
* Vodafone dips after downgrade
* GVC Holdings up after revenue jump
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, March 9 (Reuters) - UK shares were little changed on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump softened his stance on trade tariffs, easing worries over a trade war that had weighed on equity markets.
The country’s blue chip FTSE benchmark index was flat at 0938 GMT, moving in a narrow range and line with the broader European market, while mid-caps added 0.28 percent as investors digested a number of earnings updates.
Trump announced import tariffs on steel and aluminum but said Canada and Mexico would be exempt and that other countries could apply for exemptions, although details of when they would be granted were thin.
“There were a number of caveats, and this is probably where markets are taking their cues,” said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets.
The FTSE, which is down around 6 percent so far this year, was little changed after data showed that UK industrial output in February rose 1.3 percent but missed expectations for a 1.5 percent rise.
Later in the session, investors will keep an eye on the U.S. jobs report for more clues on the pace of interest rate hikes in the world’s largest economy.
On Friday there was little specific company news to capture investors’ attention.
The biggest FTSE gainer was NMC Health, which briefly touched a record high, up as much as 5.7 percent following a well received trading update earlier this week. The stock was up 3.1 percent.
The UAE healthcare provider reported a 38.2 percent rise in annual net profit on Wednesday and said acquisitions this year could top the $641 million it spent in 2017.
Vodafone was a weak spot, down 0.6 percent, after Bernstein analyst downgraded the stock to market perform.
On the midcap index, Renewi fell 6 percent after the waste-to-product company said it would take an impairment charge following the review of contracts in its UK municipal division.
Inmarsat fell 5 percent after a quarterly update whioch was in line with expectations. Morgan Stanley analysts said comments around its government business were cautious, indicating that consensus expectations for 2019 revenue growth of 5 percent were too high.
GVC Holdings rose 3.3 percent after the online gambling firm saw full-year net gaming revenue rise 17 percent in 2017, helped by gains from the bwin.party businesses it bought three years ago. GVC is set to take over Britain’s largest bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni Editing by Keith Weir)