Europe shares fall as China data, Crimea weigh
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.5 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.7 pct
* China's lower-than-expected PMI weighs on sentiment
* Companies with big Russia exposure hammered again
* Buy French, Italian stocks over UK, German ones -SocGen
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, March 24 (Reuters) - European stocks slipped on Monday, trimming last week's lofty gains, as data showing China's manufacturing activity contracted in the first quarter of 2014 revived worries over the outlook for global growth.
Investors' appetite for stocks was also dented by tensions simmering between the West and Russia, with shares of companies which have a big exposure to Russia under renewed pressure.
Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat was down 1.5 percent, Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International down 2.4 percent and Danish brewer Carlsberg down 1 percent. The three firms derive about 26 percent, 22 percent and 17 percent respectively of their revenues from Russia, according to data from MSCI.
NATO's top military commander said on Sunday Russia had built up a "very sizeable" force on its border with Ukraine, and that Moscow may have a region in another ex-Soviet republic, Moldova, in its sights after annexing Crimea from Ukraine. Continuación...