Private sector data helps European shares recover
* FTSEurofirst 300 flat, reverses early losses
* Lufthansa, Airbus down after plane crash
* Poor Chinese data weighs on resource-related shares
By Atul Prakash and Blaise Robinson
LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index steadied near a recent 7-1/2-year high on Tuesday after falling earlier in the session, with forecast-beating economic data from Germany offsetting a poor reading of Chinese factory activity.
However, Lufthansa and Airbus were down 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent respectively after an Airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline crashed in France with all 148 on board feared dead. The European travel and leisure index fell 0.4 percent.
At 1114 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was flat at 1,600.15 points after falling to 1,592.51 earlier in the session on the back of poor Chinese factory sector data. The index hit its highest since mid-2007 on Friday.
Resource-related shares fell, with the European sector index down 0.6 percent, and Rio Tinto and Glencore falling 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively after March data showed activity in China's factory sector dipped to an 11-month low.
But equities recovered after figures showed Germany's private sector grew in March at its strongest rate since July and France's private sector expanded for the second straight month, chiming with recent figures suggesting that economy is edging back to growth. Continuación...