* FTSEurofirst 300 closes 0.5 pct lower
* Caution before Fed meeting this week
* TF1 jumps on relief over ads
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - European equities ended lower on Monday as investors grew jittery ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting in which the U.S. central bank could take a decision to maintain or start raising interest rates after keeping them low for years.
A Reuters poll showed on Friday a small majority of forecasters expect a Fed hike on Thursday, though markets-based models suggest concerns about global market volatility and economic growth will delay monetary policy tightening.
“The wider picture is one where people don’t have too much conviction about the market’s direction,” IG analyst Joshua Mahony said.
“Going into Thursday, quite a few people are worrying that we are potentially going to see a move lower because even if we see the Fed holding rates, that is not going to be enough to make people start feeling really bullish as they know that it’s just around the corner.”
Mining shares came under pressure after prices of key industrial metals fell sharply. Copper was down 1.4 percent, alongside Chinese equities, after data showed a lower-than-expected rise in China’s factory output, reinforcing worries about demand for the metal.
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index fell 0.8 percent, dragged down by a 4.4 percent drop in Glencore and a 2.5 percent weaker Antofagasta.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares finished 0.5 percent lower at 1,393.71 points. It had risen to a high of 1,414.99 points earlier in the session.
Although the benchmark index is about 6 percent higher from a low late last month, it is still down about 14 percent from its peak two months ago, mainly on concerns about the pace of economic growth in China and the prospects of a U.S. rate hike.
“Investors are pretty nervous ahead of the Fed meeting,” said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels. “We are seeing a lot of volatility in the market because liquidity is very low.”
The FTSEurofirst 300’s volumes were 85 percent of its 90-day daily average in late European trading.
Shares in ARM Holdings rose 1.5 percent, with traders saying that the company was benefiting from an upbeat article by Barron’s on Apple, which uses ARM designs in its products.
On the broader STOXX 600 index, the biggest rise came from TF1. It rose 6.2 percent after the French government decided against allowing advertising on public broadcasters.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Janet Lawrence)