* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 percent, dragged by miners
* Areva tumbles 19 pct after suspending targets
* Miners hurt by further drop in iron ore prices
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Nov 19 (Reuters) - European shares inched lower in early trade on Wednesday after a sharp fall in iron ore prices pummeled mining stocks and French nuclear group Areva also took a big hit.
Shares in Areva tumbled 19 percent after it suspended its 2015 and 2016 financial targets, blaming delays in a Finnish atomic project, the slow restart of Japan’s reactors and a lacklustre nuclear market.
“Another profit warning,” a Paris-based trader said. “There’s a complete lack of visibility following this announcement.”
At 0858 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,356.46 points.
Rio Tinto fell 1.7 percent and BHP Billiton shed 1.6 percent after China’s iron ore futures dropped nearly 5 percent to a record low on Wednesday, piling more pressure on spot prices which have slumped to their weakest in more than five years, hurt by a supply glut.
“There’s been no pause in the sell-off in commodity prices, which drags the shares of all the basic resources companies,” Talence Gestion fund manager Alexandre Le Drogoff said.
“The slide in oil and metal prices is sending warning signals about the outlook for global growth, signals that for now the broad stock market is ignoring. This incoherence shows that equities are mostly supported by the input from the central banks and not economic indicators.”
Earlier this week, European stocks rallied strongly after comments from ECB President Mario Draghi raised the prospect of further stimulus steps.
Draghi said the ECB stimulus was gaining traction, adding that if current efforts should prove insufficient to accelerate the euro zone recovery, the central bank was ready to do more.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was down 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX index lost 0.1 percent, and France’s CAC 40 shed 0.2 percent.
UK testing firm Intertek featured among the top losers, down 7.5 percent after a disappointing trading update.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Gareth Jones)