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* German business sentiment rises in March - Ifo

* UK's Phoenix tops STOXX on upbeat outlook & results

* Legal & General up on shelving China business licence plan

* STOXX 600 up 0.1%

March 22 (Reuters) - European shares were largely flat on Friday but maintained record highs as gains in the telecommunications sector were offset by losses in technology shares, while investors awaited comments from European Central Bank policymakers later in the day.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1% and was on track for its eighth consecutive weekly gain after notching another fresh high earlier in the day, with Britain's FTSE 100 outperforming regional peers.

British retail sales unexpectedly held steady in February despite wet weather hitting in-store sales, adding to signs the economy is recovering from last year's mild recession.

"January's bounce in UK retail sales was short-lived, with February's reading flat, and down by 0.4% on last year's number. This was slightly ahead of economists' expectations, but overall, not a great sign for the UK economy," said Michael Field, European market strategist at Morningstar.

Rate-sensitive technology shares slipped 1% after leading sectoral gains on Thursday, while the personal and household goods index was down 0.7% owing to overnight weakness in Chinese markets.

Shares of LVMH, Christian Dior and Hermes International were down between 1.7% and 2.2%.

German business morale improved in March by more than expected, a survey showed. The Ifo institute said its business climate index stood at 87.8, compared with a reading of 86.0 forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

ECB's chief economist Philip Lane will speak on inflation and monetary policy later in the day, while the focus will also be on comments from ECB President Christine Lagarde, who is participating in the Euro Summit in Brussels.

UK's Phoenix Group topped the STOXX 600 with a 9.5% jump after the insurer said it aimed to generate operating cash of 1.4 billion pounds ($1.77 billion) and pay down 500 million pounds in debt by 2026.

Spain's Grifols fell 0.6% despite market supervisor CNMV finding no significant errors in the drugmaker's amounts it had reported.

JD Sports was down 4% after Nike warned that its revenue in the first half of fiscal 2025 would shrink by a low single-digit percentage as the world's largest sportswear maker scaled back on franchises to save costs.

Legal & General was up 1% after the British insurer shelved a plan to obtain a China business licence and more than halved onshore headcount, two sources said.

Shares of Nordea Bank and Danske Bank slumped 7.7% and 2.4%, respectively, as they traded ex-dividend.

(Reporting by Shubham Batra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sohini Goswami)