Wires

UPDATE 1-European shares take a breather before Brexit talks resume

Medha Singh and Lisa Pauline Mattackal

* UK-EU negotiations to resume on Wednesday

* Gains in Volkswagen buoy auto sector, German stocks

* FTSE mid-caps fall 1% after hitting 1-year high

* Roche rises after boosting FY profit forecast (Adds comments, details; updates prices)

Oct 16 (Reuters) - European shares slipped on Wednesday, after closing at their highest level in more than a year, as London's last-ditch Brexit talks with Brussels kept investors apprehensive about making brisk decisions.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.3%, after closing at its highest level since May 2018.

London-listed shares of Rio Tinto were among the biggest decliners on the STOXX 600, after the miner said its iron ore shipments rose 5%. But it cut its bauxite and alumina production forecast for the year.

Rio's shares also took a hit from China iron ore plunging to a six-week low following a weak demand outlook.

The wider European mining sector was down 1.3%, while the financial services and retail sectors shed more than 1% on declines in British stocks.

Brexit negotiations will resume in Brussels on Wednesday morning after "constructive" negotiations went into the night on Tuesday, but time is running out to put the deal to vote at an European Summit that starts Thursday. Any deal will also need approval from the British parliament.

"(The market is) expecting the UK and EU to agree to a deal, but we still don't know whether it's a deal that will get through parliament," said Jonathan Bell, Chief Investment Officer at Stanhope Capital.

European stock markets logged strong gains over the past week following unexpected breakthroughs in Brexit negotiations with Ireland. The benchmark index has risen more than 2%, while German stocks, which have large exports to Britain, rose nearly 4%.

Britain's domestically-focused midcaps, which rallied 5% in the past three sessions to its highest level in a year, was down 1% on Wednesday.

In a bright spot, Volkswagen shares rose 1% as industry data showed European car registrations rose 14.4% in September.

Investor focus shifts now to Europe's earnings season, which gets underway in earnest next week. Analysts expect an earnings recession to deepen as companies struggle with uncertainties around Brexit, a protracted U.S.-China trade spat and Germany's manufacturing recession.

STOXX 600 companies are now expected to report a drop of nearly 3.7% in third-quarter earnings, worse than the 3% fall expected a week ago, I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv showed.

Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML slipped 0.3% despite reporting higher-than-expected quarterly profit and bookings.

Keeping losses in check for the benchmark index were shares of Roche, which rose 0.9% as the Swiss drugmaker boosted its 2019 sales outlook for a third time, and said it expects to finish its takeover of Spark Therapeutics this year.

Its shares boosted the healthcare sector by 0.4%. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)