* Euro STOXX 50 index down 0.5 pct
* Energy shares among top decliners
* Volumes thin due to UK holiday
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Dec 28 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Monday in their first day of trade since the Christmas break, with a sharp decline in crude oil prices putting pressure on energy stocks such as Repsol and Total.
The Euro STOXX Oil and Gas index fell 1.2 percent as crude oil dropped towards $37 a barrel, trading within sight of an 11-year low, pressured by excess supply that has more than halved prices since the downturn began in mid-2014.
Shares in Repsol, Total and oil services company Technip fell between 1.3 percent and 3.1 percent.
“Today’s drop is again due to the low price of oil and the fall in the oil and gas sector following the weak Chinese data over the weekend,” John Plassard, senior equity sales executive at Mirabaud Securities, said.
Data showed profits earned by Chinese industrial companies in November fell from a year earlier, marking a sixth consecutive month of decline.
Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, also said weak Chinese economic data released on Sunday was putting pressure on the markets.
“The bias could be skewed towards the downside and most of the bets may also be anchored towards this direction,” he said.
The Euro STOXX 50 index was down 0.5 percent by 1153 GMT, Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC dropped 0.7 percent.
However, volumes on the DAX and the CAC were just about 12 percent of their 90-day daily average by midday due to a public holiday in the United Kingdom.
Shares in ArcelorMittal fell 3.1 percent on profit taking, after surging 17 percent in the previous week on a report saying China was likely to cut its steel surplus that has kept prices at decade lows.
Adidas fell 1.3 percent after the company’s CFO Robin Stalker told Boersen-Zeitung he expected sourcing costs to rise by half a billion euros in 2016 due to negative currency effects.
However, Banca Monte dei Paschi rose 2 percent after Italy’s third-largest bank said it had signed a binding agreement to sell a portfolio of non-performing loans with a gross book value of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to a Deutsche Bank vehicle. (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Janet Lawrence)