* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.07 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.1 pct
* ECB signals in no hurry to ease policy further
* Weak U.S. services ISM bodes ill for Friday's payrolls
* Corporate earnings remain the bright spot
By Toni Vorobyova
LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) - European equities erased early gains to close broadly flat on Thursday, as weak U.S. data and dampened expectations of fresh central bank measures to stimulate growth eclipsed strong company earnings, raising the prospect of more market weakness.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the ECB had not discussed cutting interest rate this month and pointed to signs of economic recovery even while acknowledging that downside risks to growth remain. (ID:nL5E8G30YJ)
The comments cooled expectations that the ECB could take fresh steps to ease monetary policy, which would benefit equities by making bond yields low, stimulating economic growth and weakening the euro to make exports more competitive.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.07 percent at 1,044.39 points, reversing earlier gains of as much as 1 percent and failing hold above the 100 day moving average around 1,047.12 for a second session in a row in a mildly negative technical signal.
The euro zone only Euro STOXX 50 fell 0.1 percent to 2,287.10 points.
"The fact it (further easing) wasn't even discussed has disappointed the market a bit," said Martin Tormey, head of equity trading at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin.
Market sentiment was further dented in late trade by a weaker-than-expected print on the U.S. ISM services index for April, which cast fresh doubts over the health of the world's biggest economy and increased the chances of a weak print from Friday's keenly-watched non-farm payrolls report.
"Europe is reliant on global growth ... so when you get the U.S. disappointing, Europe is on the hook again," said Robert Quinn, chief European equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
"There could be another 10 percent down in European equities in the medium term."
Cash-strapped global consumers have hurt Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize, which said its operating profit would fall by between 15 and 20 percent this year, sending its shares 10 percent lower and making it the biggest faller on the FTSEurofirst 300. (ID:nL5E8G29MI)
However, overall, the first quarter results season has brought some glimmers of optimism, especially from European companies which make money in faster-growing emerging markets.
Strong demand for luxury cars from China helped fuel record profits at Germany's BMW, whose shares rose 0.9 percent. Artificial hip and knee maker Smith & Nephew also reported higher sales from China - as well as Brazil, Russian and India - in its forecast-beating results.
So far, 56 percent of Euro STOXX 600 companies have met or beaten forecasts on first quarter revenues, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Things are looking even better in the United States, with the figure for S&P 500 at 75 percent.
"Global earnings momentum is recovering quickly. We think this trend has further to run," said Patrick Moonen, senior equity strategist at ING Investment Management, which retains a "small overweight" on equities on expectations of a continued recovery in the global business cycle.