China data drags European shares from 2-yr high

* FTSEurofirst 300 index down 0.3 percent

* Miners, oils slip on China import data

* Delhaize gains on forecast beating Q3 results

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

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday from two-year highs after weak Chinese import data suggested the commodity sector could be facing a slowdown, with miners and oils featuring among the biggest fallers.

By 1018 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,113.61 points after hitting its highest close since September 2008.

“Growth in China imports has slowed down, that will be a bit of a concern for the market,” Heino Ruland, strategist at Ruland Research in Frankfurt, said.

Commodity stocks slipped from strong gains in the previous session after China’s copper imports fell to their lowest level for a year and oil shipments were down 30 percent.

Miners Antofagasta ANTO.L, Rio Tinto RIO.L and Xstrata XTA.L were down 1 to 1.8 percent, while oil stocks BP BP.L, BG Group BG.L and Total TOTF.PA lost 0.8 to 1.4 percent.

Other China news hurting market sentiment included sources saying that the Chinese central bank had increased its required reserves for its biggest banks in a bid to curb inflation. [ID:nSGE6A9091]


Investors will be watching the Bank of England inflation report, with economists expecting the BoE’s short-term growth and inflation projections, released at 1030 GMT, to be revised up from their August paths, due to recent above-forecast GDP and CPI outturns.

“There have been rumours that the BoE could revise interest rate up quicker than expected ... if this happens then the market could sell off further,” Mark Priest, senior equities trader at ETX Capital, said.

Banks were on the downside after downbeat earnings news. French bank Natixis CNAT.PA dropped 8.9 percent after third-quarter profits missed forecasts. [ID:nLDE6A80ZU

UniCredit SpA CRDI.MI lost 1.8 percent, after Italy's top bank's third-quarter net profit fell short of forecasts leaving its prospects uncertain. [ID:nLDE6A81VJ]

However, not all earnings news disappointed. Belgian supermarket group Delhaize DELB.BR jumped 6.1 percent after third-quarter operating profits beat expectations. [ID:nLDE6A70AA]

German consumer goods group Henkel HNKG_p.DE, gained 7 percent after the maker of Persil detergents raised its 2010 outlook and adjusted EBIT for the third-quarter beat expectations. [ID:nLDE6A90B5]

British utility Scottish and Southern Energy SSE.L rose 5 percent after it said it was raising its dividend this year.

“Earnings have been better than expected and any dip could be a buying opportunity,” Ruland said.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 .FTSE index was down 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX .GDAXI was 0.3 percent lower and France's CAC 40 .FCHI was down 0.5 percent. (Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Hans Peters) (; +44 207 542 2773, Reuters