* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, halts recent slide
* Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland rally after latest poll
* Air France-KLM rises after pledging to boost core earnings
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - European shares rose early on Thursday, with Scottish-based banks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland rallying after a poll showed a majority of Scots intend to vote against independence in next week’s referendum.
At 0750 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,387.75 points, bouncing from a recent slide.
A survey late on Wednesday showed 53 percent of Scots intend to vote against splitting away from the UK. The poll, carried out by Survation on behalf of the Daily Record newspaper, showed 47 percent intending to vote yes to the split. The figures excluded 10 percent of people who were undecided.
Scotland-based Lloyds gained 1.3 percent, while RBS rose 2.1 percent.
On Wednesday, Lloyds said its contingency plans for Scottish independence included setting up “new principle legal entities in England”, while government and banking sources said RBS would also base itself in London in the event of independence.
“The latest poll is relatively reassuring but it’s still quite close. Whatever the result of the vote though, the implication for Europe is that it revives the spectre of similar referendums in Spain’s Catalonia and Belgium’s Flanders,” said Alexandre Baradez, chief market analyst at IG France.
“It’s a risk that investors have to start pricing in.”
Mining stocks lost ground, with Rio Tinto down 0.6 percent and BHP Billiton down 0.4 percent, as iron ore futures in China and Singapore added to recent steep losses, amid abundant supply and slower growth in Chinese demand that have slashed spot prices of the steelmaking raw material by nearly 40 percent this year.
On the macro front, data showed China’s consumer inflation cooled more than expected in August, further evidence that the economy is losing momentum, but economists are divided over whether Beijing will use the extra room to announce new stimulus measures.
Air France-KLM featured among the top gainers, up 3 percent after pledging to improve its core earnings by 8 to 10 percent a year through 2017 as part of a new strategic plan combining an assault on the European leisure market with efforts to improve its appeal to long-haul travellers.
Despite the day’s gains, the FTSEurofirst 300 is still down about 1 percent from a peak hit last Thursday.
“It’s a dead cat bounce,” TradingSat analyst Alexandre Tixier said.
“The volumes since the low hit yesterday during the session are very thin, it’s not a good sign. I think the recent pull-back will soon resume and there will be better entry points.”
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Janet Lawrence)