Weak French and Chinese data knock back European shares
* Weak French and Chinese data weighs on European equities
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.9 pct
* Euro STOXX 50 down 1.1 pct
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Weak French and Chinese economic data knocked back European stock markets on Thursday, leaving a pan-European equity index nursing its worst intraday loss in more than two weeks.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.9 percent to 1,327.75 points in early session trading, its biggest intraday fall since a 1.4 percent decline on Feb. 3.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also fell 1.1 percent to 3,086.81 points.
Although data on Thursday showed growth in Germany's private sector, France's service sector shrank the most in nine months in February.
Further weighing on global equity markets was data showing that China's flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to a seven-month low of 48.3 in February from January's final reading of 49.5. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction while one above shows expansion. Continuación...