MILAN, March 31 (Reuters) - European shares fell in early trading on Friday, weighed down by losses among mining stocks and by a slump in South African-exposed insurer Old Mutual , but were firmly on track to end the quarter with a gain.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.2 percent, on track to end the first quarter with a gain of 5 percent, its third straight quarterly gain. The UK's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX was flat.
Europe's Basic Resources index, where big miners are listed, fell 1.5 percent, leading sectoral fallers in Europe.
Old Mutual was the biggest loser on the STOXX, down 7.4 percent, as South Africa's rand and government bonds fell after President Jacob Zuma fired his respected finance minister in a late-night cabinet reshuffle.
Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Kit Rees