Weak data weighs on European stocks but southern markets rally
* FTSEurofirst 300 closes down 0.4 pct at 1,363.16 points
* FTSE down 0.3 pct, DAX down 0.4 pct, CAC falls 0.5 pct
* But peripheral European markets outperform
* ECB's Draghi reiterates readiness for new stimulus
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Weak economic data weighed on European shares on the first trading day of the year, although the losses were mitigated by growing expectations of new measures from the European Central Bank to boost the euro zone.
The need to stimulate growth in Europe was highlighted by subdued euro zone manufacturing data on Friday. The data showed a downturn in France and weak activity in Germany, which contributed to push down France's CAC stock index by 0.5 percent and Germany's DAX down 0.4 percent.
British manufacturing also expanded at a much weaker pace than expected in December, China's massive factory sector looked to have sputtered and there was a similar slowdown in the United States.
"We received fairly disappointing manufacturing data from the U.S, Asia, UK and euro zone, creating renewed concerns about a slowdown of the manufacturing sector worldwide," said Sucden Financial senior research analyst Myrto Sokou. Continuación...