European shares flat amid results deluge, ECB rate-cut eyed
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.49 points at 1,295.09
* Investors expect more dovish tone from ECB
* US GDP in focus as tapering debate rumble on
* Big day for earnings; HeidelbergCement falls post results
* Commerbank rallies as strategic overhaul was on track
LONDON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Earnings dominated the major movers on Europe's top share index but the FTSEurofirst 300 was barely changed ahead of the European Central Bank's November policy meeting.
The ECB is expected to leave interest rates at a record low at 1245 GMT, although there is an outside chance of cut after surprisingly weak euro zone inflation data. Markets will also listen for hints the ECB will offer more cheap loans to banks next year to head off a rise in interbank lending rates.
The Bank of England also holds a policy meeting on Thursday, while investors are processing a heavy slate of corporate earnings and will keep a close eye on upcoming U.S. data.
"Earnings aren't really the main story at the moment with liquidity still the dominant theme," said Deutsche Bank's equity strategist Jan Rabe.
"Indeed, as equity markets push up against record highs and global credit indices trade at or near multi-year tights, it's fair to say that financial conditions have eased considerably over the past few months."
By 1102 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 1.49 points at 1,295.09, still within touching distance of five-year highs reached with the help of ultra-easy monetary policy.
In a cross-asset strategy note, Ramin Nakisa at UBS said Europe ex-UK equity can expect more positive returns in the month ahead, supported by a perception of reduced sovereign debt risk and improving regional fundamentals.
U.S. July-September GDP data, due at 1330 GMT, and Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for October will also be scrutinised for insight into the potential timing of the Federal Reserve's eventual move to trim its stimulus.
"U.S. jobs data this Friday may provide a catalyst for a minor pullback but overall one should look to buy the weakness for a year-end rally," said Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at SecurEquity.
Nearly 200 European companies announce results on Thursday.
HeidelbergCement was the top faller shedding 4.2 percent after warning 2013 targets would be tougher to achieve.
Schroders fell 3 percent on valuation worries - the fund firm trades on a PE of 17.1 times, compared with peers on 13.3 times - despite reporting net inflows of 1 billion pounds.
Canaccord Genuity cut its rating on Schroders to "hold" from "buy" saying it needs stronger growth to justify upgrades.
French testing and inspection company Bureau Veritas fell as much as 5.7 percent to a near four-month low after third-quarter profit missed expectations, while the world's largest maker of switches and sockets Legrand slipped 3 percent after reporting a dip in sales.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 64 percent of firms on the STOXX Europe 600 have reported results so far, of which 49 percent have met or beaten earnings expectations and 34 percent reported above-forecast revenues.
Deutsche Bank's Rabe said the conclusion is that European expectation beats remain well below their long-term averages for both earnings per share and sales.
Rebounding firmly was German lender Commerzbank, up 9.8 +percent after posting a 15 percent rise in quarterly net profit and saying a strategic overhaul was on track.
Africa-focused miner Randgold Resources rallied 8.9 percent after it said a plan to cut costs and boost gold production to cope with a slump in the gold price was working.
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, rose 3.4 percent after it reported strong third quarter profits and said it was through the bottom of the cycle.