Mixed earnings cap gains in European shares ahead of ECB decision

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April 14 (Reuters) - European shares held steady on Thursday after a mixed batch of earnings, while investors waited to hear from the European Central Bank amid risks to economic growth from rising inflation.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX was little changed by 0722 GMT following a strong finish on Wall Street and gains in Asian shares. Euro zone shares .STOXXE edged 0.2% higher.

Birkin bag maker Hermes HRMS.PA gained 2.2% after its quarterly sales beat estimates, lifted by strong appetite for its luxury accessories, particularly in the United States and Europe.

Travel & leisure stocks .SXTP gained the most among sectors, with low-cost airline Wizz Air WIZZ.L up 5.3% despite a gloomy forecast.

Sweden's Ericsson ERICb.ST , under fire for its handling of a bribery investigation in Iraq, slumped 8.7% after it warned of a potential fine by U.S. regulators and reported a fall in first-quarter core earnings.

The ECB decision, due at 1145 GMT, could provide a clearer schedule for the end of its bond purchases programme and subsequent interest rate hikes.

It is lagging behind most other major central banks, which started raising interest rates last year.

Among other stocks, Italian airport and motorway operator Atlantia ATL.MI gained 5.3% after the holding company of Italy's Benetton family and U.S. investment fund Blackstone BX.N said they will spend up to 12.7 billion euros ($14 billion) to take the company private.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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