* FTSEurofirst 300 index down 1.1 percent
* Utilities slip after results from some firms
* Banking shares down after forex probe fines
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - European shares retreated on Wednesday after two days of gains, with utilities slipping after some company earnings and financials hit by global regulators moving to fine five banks for failings in currency trading.
The utilities index fell 2.4 percent, the biggest sectoral decliner, led by a 5.7 percent drop in Italy’s Enel after it lowered its debt-reduction target for 2014 and reported a drop in nine-month core earnings.
Germany’s top utility E.ON fell 4 percent after posting a steep drop in profits at its business in Russia, its most important foreign market.
Analysts said the market was likely to remain volatile in the near term due to choppy earnings results.
“If you look at 2015 earnings estimates for Europe, they are down quite sharply over the last few weeks. This shows that the underlying problems for the market are still very much intact,” said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank.
At 1557 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1.1 percent to 1,344.15 points. It remained within the tight trading range seen since late October.
The European banking index slipped 2 percent after global regulators imposed penalties totalling $3.4 billion on UBS, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and JP Morgan.
HSBC was down 0.4 percent, while U.S. banks JPMorgan and Citi were down 1.4 percent and 1 percent respectively. UBS bucked the trend, up 0.2 percent, with traders saying the fine had been already taken into account.
Barclays fell 2 percent. The British bank, a major player in the foreign exchange market, had been expected to be part of the settlement but Britain’s Financial Services Authority (FCA) said its investigation was continuing.
Italian bank UniCredit was down 5.4 percent and peer Banco Popolare, which announced a net loss of 121.7 million euros for January-September late on Tuesday, dropped 4.2 percent.
The European retail index fell 1.3 percent, weighed down by a 1.6 percent drop in supermarket chain J. Sainsbury after it announced plans to cut spending deeply to help pay for lower prices.
“The rise of the discounters continues as they edge their way into consumer consciousness and Sainsbury’s declaration of ‘investment’ in price cuts will inevitably eat into revenues,” said Richard Hunter, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
On the positive side, oil services group SBM Offshore jumped 18 percent after it settled with Dutch prosecutors for $240 million over an inquiry into suspected improper payments to government officials. (Editing by Gareth Jones)