* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, trims previous day’s losses
* Total shares fall after CEO killed in accident
* Market rebound seen fragile
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - European shares inched up in choppy trade on Tuesday morning, trimming the previous session’s losses as better-than-expected quarterly sales from Apple helped soothe worries over corporate results.
Gains were limited, however, after data showing China’s economic growth slowed in the third quarter to its weakest since the 2008/09 global financial crisis as a slumping property market dragged on manufacturing and investment, fuelling worries over flagging global growth.
“The main trend is still negative. Volatility is falling back but remains at a high level. We’re in a technical bounce and the market is vulnerable,” said Jean-Louis Cussac, head of Paris-based firm Perceval Finance.
“In this context, selling all the rebounds is a good strategy to benefit from the swings.”
At 0753 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,278.57 points, after losing 0.6 percent on Monday.
Shares in oil giant Total fell as much as 2.3 percent after its chief executive Christophe de Margerie was killed when a business jet collided with a snow plough during takeoff at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport.
De Margerie’s death leaves a void at the top of the French group, at a difficult time for the industry as oil prices tumble.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX index up 0.7 percent, and France’s CAC 40 up 0.8 percent.
After the close on Wall Street on Monday, Apple posted a better-than-expected 16 percent jump in iPhone sales and the strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years, helping the company surpass Wall Street’s targets. Apple also forecast a strong holiday quarter.
Shares in Actelion gained 5.9 percent after it raised its full-year profit guidance for the second quarter in a row, buoyed by a healthy uptake of its new heart and lung drug.
Shares in BMW fell 0.5 pct, with traders pointing to the placement of shares in the automaker by UBS on behalf of an asset manager.
Portugal Telecom sank again, down 9 percent as investors continued to dump the shares following the bankruptcy of Espirito Santo holding company Rioforte which has raised the risk Portugal Telecom will not recover 900 million euros ($1.2 billion) in debt from the company.
The stock has been tumbling in recent weeks on mounting uncertainty over the company after the resignation of chief executive Zeinal Bava from PT’s Brazilian partner Oi and reports that Oi could sell its Portuguese assets.
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