* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.3 percent
* Chinese data send energy company shares down
* SABMiller, Heineken advance on M&A news
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - European equities fell on Monday, led lower by shares in commodity companies, after disappointing macroeconomic data from China intensified concerns about the pace of economic growth in the world’s No. 2 economy.
Weekend data showed China’s factory output grew at the weakest pace in nearly six years in August while growth in other major sectors also fell, increasing fears that China may be at risk of a sharp slowdown unless Beijing takes new stimulus measures.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares fell for a third straight session and was down 0.3 percent at 1,378.79 points by 0759 GMT.
The STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index dropped 1.2 percent, the biggest sectoral faller in Europe, and the basic resources index slipped 0.4 percent, tracking crude oil and copper prices, which fell to their lowest level in about two years and three weeks respectively.
“A lot of oil inventories and little demand for the commodity indicate the global economy is not growing as strongly as hoped for, and this would fit with other indicators like copper prices have also fallen back and leading indicators from Europe have been on the weaker side,” Baader Bank’s head of equity strategy in Munich, Gerhard Schwarz, said.
“The sheer mass of political events that are coming to the market will constrain activity in the market in the short term.”
Chinese economic data added to investors’ nervousness ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Sept. 16-17. As the U.S. economy picks up pace, the Fed is inching closer to raising rates, a move that will send ripples through markets worldwide.
The Fed meeting will conclude just a day before a neck-and-neck vote in Scotland on Sept. 18 on whether to leave the United Kingdom. Until September, all polls but one in 2013 had shown the unionists with a comfortable lead but several surveys this month show the nationalists have won over hundreds of thousands of Scotland’s 4 million voters.
On the mergers and acquisitions front, Dutch brewer Heineken said on Sunday it was approached by larger rival SABMiller about a potential takeover but that its controlling shareholder intended to keep the company independent.
Heineken and SABMiller shares rose 1.5 percent and 5 percent respectively.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Louise Ireland)