European shares dropped on Thursday after downbeat manufacturing reports from China and euro area raised concerns about the pace of economic recovery. China's manufacturing sector showed a widening contraction in February to record 48.3 from 49.5. In the euro area, the dismal manufacturing reports from Germany and France pushed PMI manufacturing to 53.0 from a prior of 54.0. The IMF said on Wednesday the global recovery is still fragile and "significant downside risks remain." In addition, Fed minutes released yesterday showed the Fed would continue with stimulus taper unless there is a clear drop in economic data. As of 07:14 EST, STOXX EUROPE 600 slipped 0.64% to record 332.81 points. Basic Materials led the decline with a drop of 1.51%, where Randstad Holdings recorded the largest losses as its shares plummeted 8.54% to 44.97 euros. Technip SA, on the other hand, led the largest gains as its equities rose 8.21% to 69.47 euros. Regarding other major European indices, Germany`s DAX 30 edged down 1.24% to 9540.45 points. France's CAC 40 index plunged 0.42% to 4323.07 points, and FTSE 100 slumped 0.32% to 6775.18 points.