European stocks steady, supported by Chinese data; Nestle drops
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.03 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.1 pct * Strong Chinese trade data boosts mining sector * Nestle falls after trimming outlook * Deutsche Telekom surges after posting strong U.S. growth PARIS, Aug 8 (Reuters) - European stocks were steady in early trade on Thursday following two days of losses, with strong Chinese trade data sparking gains in the mining sector while food company Nestle dropped after cutting its outlook. At 0730 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.03 percent at 1,216.80 points, having lost 0.6 percent in the past two sessions. Chinese exports rose 5.1 percent in July from a year ago, above forecasts of 3 percent, and imports jumped 10.9 percent against forecasts of 2.1 percent, signalling the economy may be stabilising after a growth slowdown. Heavyweight mining shares featured among the top gainers, with Anglo American up 2.1 percent and BHP Billiton up 1.2 percent. "I think that the fears about China have been exaggerated, and there are quite good opportunities among beaten-down miners, even if it's just for a short-term technical bounce," a Paris-based equity and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trader. Worries over China's economy, the world's biggest metals consumer, have dragged on mining shares this year, with the STOXX Europe 600 basic resources sector index down 21 percent so far, by far the worst sector performance and lagging well behind the FTSEurofirst 300, which is up 7.6 percent. Thursday's results were mixed, with Nestle dropping 2 percent after missing first-half sales forecasts and cutting its 2013 target. Deutsche Telekom rose 4.1 percent after results showed robust growth in the United States. So far in Europe's earnings season, about 56 percent of STOXX Europe 600 index have met or beaten profit forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, a relatively good score though below Wall Street's 72 percent of S&P 500 companies. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index, which has gained 12 percent since late June, was up 0.1 percent at 2,801.23 points, not far from a year high of 2,851.48 points hit in May. "With the strong Chinese data, the hope to see indexes reach year highs is back. But sentiment is fragile," said Guillaume Dumans, co-ahead of 2Bremans, a Paris-based research firm. "Our daily indicator is actually in the contrarian zone, so we expect the market to retreat today at some point."