European shares fall back as Crimea, China PMI weigh
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.2 pct
* Companies with big Russia exposure hit again
* Bayer falls on UK regulatory block
* China's lower-than-expected PMI weighs on sentiment (Adds quote, details, updates prices)
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Monday, trimming last week's lofty gains as concern over events in Ukraine and China's flagging manufacturing activity pegged a key index back from the top of its recent range.
Shares of companies with big exposure to Russia were under pressure as the United States began crisis talks with European allies after Ukraine announced the withdrawal of its troops from Crimea, effectively yielding the region to Moscow's forces.
Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat was down 1.7 percent, Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International down 1.9 percent and Danish brewer Carlsberg down 1.3 percent. The three firms derive about 26 percent, 22 percent and 17 percent respectively of their revenues from Russia, according to data from MSCI.
While the developments did not mark a severe setback, confirmation that geopolitical uncertainty would continue into a fourth week was enough to see European shares retrace some of last week's gains. Continuación...