* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6
* Rolls-Royce slumps after another profit warning
* Aegon and RWE also fall after results
* Draghi’s comments on inflation raise stimulus hopes (Recasts, adds detail)
By Atul Prakash and Alistair Smout
LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday, hit by a number of disappointing earnings updates, although hints of renewed stimulus from the European Central Bank did offer some support.
In choppy trading, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.6 percent at 1,485.83 points by 1203 GMT, after falling to an intra-day low of 1,482.92 on updates from some companies that fell short of expectations.
Shares in Rolls-Royce slumped 23 percent and were set for their biggest one-day percentage drop ever, after the British engine-maker downgraded its profit forecast for 2016, its fourth warning in just over a year. It blamed sharply weaker demand for spares and services to existing aero-engines.
“Yet another profit warning has shocked investors, with a review of its current shareholder payments policy a major negative,” said Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“Additional headwinds for selected aerospace and offshore marine markets have been flagged, including sharply lower volumes of corporate jets and ongoing difficulties for its oil-impacted Marine business.”
Shares in BAE Systems rose 4 percent, the top FTSEurofirst 300 riser, after sources told Reuters that it would sell its less profitable operations, boosting the stock despite the defence firm seeing flat earnings for 2015.
RWE was down 7.7 percent after warning it would only barely reach its full-year net profit target, while Dutch insurer Aegon missed forecasts with its loss.
The third-quarter earnings season in Europe is drawing to a close. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 84 percent of companies in the STOXX Europe 600 index have announced third-quarter results so far, of which 51 percent have met or beaten analysts’ forecasts. On the revenue front, only 47 percent of companies have met or surpassed expectations.
Markets were supported off their lows after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said indications that inflation will recover are weakening and that the ECB will have another look at its monetary policy when its policymakers meet in December.
“It is highly likely that the ECB will deliver something in December,” said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank in Munich.
“But investors will be more in a wait-and-see attitude over the next couple of weeks because it is still a very shaky environment when it comes to the expectations for the economic outlook. The conviction to have a better growth backdrop going forward is still rather low.”
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Catherine Evans)