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European shares lower at midday; U.S. data awaited

* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 0.4 pct

* Miners among top decliners on growth concerns

* Investors await more data for near-term market direction

* Hochtief rises on takeover approach

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday, as weak British retail sales data added to investors’ worries about the economy following disappointing U.S. numbers in the previous session.

At 1043 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was 0.4 percent lower at 1,080.05 points, after ending down 0.3 percent on Wednesday on a report showing a measure of New York state business conditions had slipped to the lowest in more than a year.

The share index is up about 5 percent in September, but down about 3 percent from its April peak.

“We’ve had quite a nice rally, though the United States is running out of steam. People will certainly be focusing on today’s top-down numbers, such as the weekly jobless claims,” said Heino Ruland, strategist at Ruland Research in Frankfurt.

“Looking at the technical picture, markets are trying to go through the resistance levels. People will also be focusing on Friday, when we have triple witching. When that’s out of the way, the market could break out of this range.”

British retail sales volumes fell last month for the first time since January after drops in sales of food, fuel, clothes and household goods. [ID:nUKLGKE64J]

Miners were among the top decliners as concerns about global economic recovery raised fresh questions about demand for raw materials.

Fresnillo FRES.L, Rio Tinto RIO.L, Vedanta VED.L and Xstrata XTA.L fell between 0.8 and 1.3 percent.

Eurasian Natural Resources Corp.ENRC.L bucked the trend, up 4.2 percent after an upgrade from Credit Suisse.

BHP Billiton was down 0.2 percent. The Globe and Mail reported on its website that Potash Corp POT.TO was trying to put together a consortium led by China to back a management buyout to trump BHP Billiton's $38.6 billion hostile offer. [ID:nSYU010609]

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 .FTSE and France's CAC 40 .FCHI were down 0.1 and 0.3 percent, respectively; Germany's DAX .GDAXI was flat.

The Euro STOXX 50 .STOXX50E, the euro zone's blue-chip index, was flat at 2,793.89 points, below the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the index's fall from an April high to a May low at 2,805.95 points.

HOCHTIEF RISES

German construction group Hochtief HOTG.DE rose 3.1 percent after Spanish builder ACS ACS.MC said it planned a bid for the shares it does not already own in the company via a nil-premium all-share deal to diversify into higher-growth markets. ACS rose 1.7 percent. [ID:nLDE68F0BO]

Siemens AG SIEGn.DE jumped 3.7 percent after news that the company and South Korea's GS Engineering & Construction 006360.KS had jointly won orders to build power plants in Oman from a group led by GDF Suez GSZ.PA.

Kingfisher KGF.L, Europe's biggest home improvement retailer, rose 2.8 percent as it beat first-half profit forecasts, helped by cost-cutting and business improvements that it said would help it to cope with a tough consumer outlook.

Ericsson ERICb.ST fell 3 percent, with traders citing market talk that the company was guiding analysts for lower results. An Ericsson spokesman said the company did not give outlooks. [ID:nLDE68F0I8]

United Business Media UBM.L jumped 6.3 percent after the British events and publishing group expanded its tradeshows business with a U.S. acquisition, prompting JP Morgan Cazenove to hike its estimates and target price for the firm.

Investors awaited U.S. weekly data on first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended Sept. 11 and U.S. producer price numbers, both due at 1230 GMT. (Editing by Will Waterman)

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