Europe Stocks Sag After Downbeat Chinese, German Data

European stocks fell Monday, with the pan-European benchmark slipping from its first weekly advance in nearly a month as investors considered mixed regional economic readings.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.5% to 326.39, relinquishing a portion of last week's gain of 1.8%, the first weekly advance in nearly a month.

The composite purchasing managers' index for the euro zone came in at 53.2 for March, down slightly from the previous month's reading of 53.3 but still showing an expansion for the ninth-straight month. Later Monday, manufacturing PMI data for the U.S. will be released.

Weakness in the markets followed data overnight from HSBC that its preliminary China manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to an eight-month low, missing a consensus forecast and showing further contraction in the sector. Asian stocks finished higher as investors appeared to anticipate that Beijing will introduce a series of policy measures to stabilize growth.

But in Europe, it "seems the markets are reacting more to the negativity of numbers rather than the potential cash injection," said James Hughes, chief market analyst at Alpari Ltd. in London, in a note early Monday.

In country-specific moves, Germany's DAX 30 index fell 0.8% to 9,271.93, with losses accelerating after a preliminary report from market-research firm Markit that private-sector activity in Germany unexpectedly slowed in March. Shares of mail-delivery company Deutsche Post AG , insurer Allianz SE and exchange operator Deutsche Boerse AG were the only three of the DAX's 30 components to see gains.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG shares notched the sharpest declines in Frankfurt, down 2.4% after pilots at the airline on Friday voted to strike as part of a rift with the carrier over pay.

France's CAC 40 index gave up 0.8% to 4,299.04, although economic data brightened, with Markit saying France's private-sector output in March expanded to a 31-month high. In French local elections on Sunday, the far-right National Front party made gains, in a sign of discontent with Socialist President François Hollande.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 0.3% to 6,532.16, as Vodafone Group PLC pulled back by 1.1%. However, gainers included Lloyds Banking Group , up 1.4% after its shares were upgraded to buy from hold at Investec. There's "reasonable value" for the low-risk stock after a 10% decline over 10 weeks, said Investec.