* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 1.5 pct
* First real pull-back in a month, trading volumes thin
* ESTOXX 50's back below key level but upside channel intact
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Wednesday, retreating further from 13-month highs hit earlier this week, as investors awaited details of the European Central Bank's plan to buy Spanish and Italian debt before committing more to equities.
Cyclical shares were among the biggest losers, with miners Anglo American down 3.7 percent and Rio Tinto down 2.7 percent, as surprisingly soft export data from Japan rekindled fears over the pace of global growth.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 1.2 percent lower at 1,095.88 points in thin trading volume, suffering its first real bout of profit-taking in about a month during which the benchmark rallied more than 8 percent.
"The market needed a break, which was predictable when you look at the charts," said Eric d'Aillieres, managing director at Invest Securities in Paris.
"Overall, volumes have been very thin during the rally, which is a bit worrying. Investors have been buying big caps such as LVMH and not taking on a lot of risk."
Spain's IBEX index was the hardest-hit, dropping 2.7 percent, although trading volumes were extremely low - less than two-thirds the average daily volume of the past three months - signalling the absence of real negative sentiment towards Spanish equities.
Madrid's benchmark is still up 22 percent since comments from ECB head Mario Draghi in late July sparked hopes the central bank would soon start buying Spanish and Italian bonds to lower the two countries' borrowing costs and ease the euro zone debt crisis.
The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 1.5 percent on Wednesday to 2,452.73 points, moving back below a strong resistance level, the long-term descending trendline formed by 2007 and 2011 peaks.
However, the index managed to stay within its upward channel started about two weeks ago, signalling that its short-term positive trend remains intact.
"It's interesting to see that despite the strong gains of the past month, we still haven't seen any real correction. It shows the strength of the rally, although things could quickly change in September," Kepler Capital Markets trader Patrice Perois said.
"Volumes are not great, but we're seeing clients slowly increasing their long positions, something that could accelerate in the next few days."
Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index fell 1.4 percent, Germany's DAX index dropped 1 percent, and France's CAC 40 shed 1.5 percent.
So far this year, the FTSE 100 is up 3.6 percent, the DAX is up 19 percent and the CAC is up 9.6 percent. This compares with a gain of 12 percent for Wall Street's S&P 500 index in 2012.
Investors' attention will turn to Greece later this week, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras meeting with euro zone chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday before traveling to Berlin on Friday to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to Paris a day later for talks with French President Francois Hollande.
Samaras will try to persuade them that bailed-out Greece needs more time to implement reforms and fix its finances.