* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5, Germany’s DAX down 0.9 pct
* Report of Russian shots in Ukraine reignites sell-off
* Mining shares hurt again by soft Chinese data
* Bouygues-Iliad deal sparks rally in French telecom shares
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - European shares fell for the second session running on Monday, hit by tensions between Russia and Ukraine and weak economic data from the world’s second-largest economy, China.
Most European indexes swung lower in the afternoon after the Interfax news agency reported Russian troops opened fire with automatic rifles during a takeover of a Ukrainian naval post in Crimea.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.5 percent at 1,319.83 points at 1529 GMT, re-testing a low set last week in a broad sell-off involving most sectors and national indexes.
German steel maker ThyssenKrupp, down 3.1 percent, was among the top fallers in Europe as Chinese steel and iron ore futures slumped to their lowest levels ever on concerns about a slowdown in the world’s top commodity buyer.
Trade data showed China’s exports in February tumbled 18.1 percent from a year earlier, raising questions about the health of the country’s economy.
Global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were down 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.
“The Ukrainian crisis worries me more than the slowdown in China because of its proximity to Europe,” said Claudia Panseri, global equity strategist at Societe Generale Private Banking.
“It could also have a negative impact in terms of contagion effect and capital outflows from other emerging markets at a time when global economic growth is still fragile.”
Panseri preferred shares exposed to a recovery in Europe’s own economy, such as banks or German and British mid and small-cap stocks, to shares with an emerging market exposure.
Shares with the largest exposure to Russia, such as Austrian bank Raiffeisen Bank International and Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat, were among top fallers.
Germany’s blue-chip index, the DAX, fell 0.9 percent.
“Germany is hurt a bit more than the others as it is an exporter nation with vast interests in both Central Europe and China,” said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets.
“However, in the larger scheme of things this is probably a healthy correction. We see this as a little pause and not the end of the bull market, and remain buyers of the dip.”
French telecom shares rose following a deal between Bouygues and Iliad, which were up 7.3 percent and 9.5 percent respectively.
Bouygues’ telecom unit agreed to sell its mobile network and much of its spectrum to Iliad as a way to head off competition regulators’ concerns about its pending bid for Vivendi’s SFR unit.
Robin Bienenstock, analyst at Bernstein Research, said that a combination of SFR and Bouygues would lift the entire sector, leaving out only cable operator Numericable, which had also bid for SFR and whose shares fell 12.9 percent on Monday.
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