* FTSEurofirst 300 index falls 0.3 percent
* Standard Chartered drops after profit slump
* BHP Billiton sharply down on dividend cut
* Italian banks rally help sector outperform (Adds details, updates prices)
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - European shares retreated on Tuesday, with falling commodities prices and disappointing updates from Standard Chartered and BHP Billiton weighing on the market.
Standard Chartered fell 5.5 percent after the emerging markets-focused bank reported an 84 percent fall in profits as weaker global financial markets, tumbling commodity prices and rising loan impairments hammered revenues.
Shares in BHP Billiton dropped 4.3 percent after the miner slashed its interim dividend by 75 percent, abandoning a long-held policy of steady or higher payouts, and reporting its first net loss in more than 16 years.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent by 1121 GMT after hitting a two-week high on Monday.
Miners were the biggest sectoral decliners, with the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index falling 2.2 percent, hit by BHP and weaker metals prices.
The STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index fell 0.4 percent, as crude oil prices dropped more than 1 percent amid worries that rising Iranian output would deepen global oversupply, offsetting expectations of a drop in U.S. production.
In spite of losses in StanChart shares, the STOXX Europe 600 bank index outperformed, up 0.5 percent, underpinned by a rally in Italian banks, as some investors viewed the recent sell-off as overdone.
France’s Thales rose 6.4 percent as the company raised its dividend after posting higher-than-expected core profit and record orders in 2015.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan; Editing by Alison Williams)