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Euro Stocks End Lower After US Data

European shares fell nearly 2 percent on Friday in their worst sell-off in almost a month, as concern about the outlook for U.S. economic growth resurfaced after surprisingly weak employment data.

Banks were the largest drag on the broader market, where every one of Western Europe's 16 major benchmark indexes was stuck in negative territory.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended unofficially down 1.8 percent at 1,457.8 points, in its biggest daily fall since mid-December and making this its lowest close since Nov. 22.

The index gained 1.6 percent last year.

"There just seems to be a very broad-brush dumping of anything that is exposed to the consumer or is cyclical in any way," said Andrea Williams, head of European equities at Royal London Asset Management.

Among the banks, shares in UBS fell 3 percent, Barclays lost 4.5 percent, Banco Santander fell 1.5 percent and Credit Suisse shed 1.9 percent.

Earlier U.S. data showed an unexpectedly large spike in unemployment as the economy created far fewer jobs than expected, while a separate gauge of activity in the service sector showed growth slowed.

Around Europe, London's FTSE 100 index fell 2 percent, while Frankfurt's DAX lost 1.2 percent and Paris' CAC 40 fell 1.7 percent.