Slow iPhone sales pushes European tech stocks down

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There was very light volume traded on Wednesday as European markets closed the day up marginally while US indices were trading up despite a fall in the technology sector after reports of tepid sales for Apple’s iPhone X.

Ireland’s benchmark Iseq overall index closed up by 0.05 per cent with little movement across the board, while the pan-European Stoxx 60 index edged up by 0.1 per cent.

It was a very quiet day on the Irish stock exchange as markets began trading again after the Christmas break.

Financials were amongst the biggest losers with AIB trading down by 2.25 per cent at €5.435 and Bank of Ireland off by 0.64 per cent. Permanent TSB was also down by 0.45 per cent but on extremely light volume.

Meanwhile, budget airline Ryanair edged down by 1.03 per cent. A Ukrainian media outlet, UA TV, reported that the country’s infrastructure minister, Volodymyr Omelyan, had said the budget airline will start flying in the country next year.

Aryzta was trading at the top of the of the Iseq 20 on the back of its success on its Swiss listing. The food group was up by 2.62 per cent on the Swiss stock exchange.

Heavyweight CRH saw over 1 million shares traded on Wednesday and edged up by 0.13 per cent as a result.

British stocks hit fresh record highs on Wednesday after a two-day holiday break, boosted by a rally in commodity stocks and a 28 per cent jump for IWG after the serviced office provider confirmed a takeover approach.

Miners Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton delivered the biggest boost to the blue-chip index, rising by 1.4 to 2.1 per cent as metals prices hovered near the 3 and a half year highs they hit on a strong Chinese growth outlook.

Gold producers Fresnillo and Randgold Resources were among the top FTSE gainers, lifted by a rise in gold prices as the dollar softened.

Tullow Oil gained 2.4 per cent as oil prices stayed high, fresh from a rally that sent US West Texas Intermediate crude above $60 for the first time since mid-2015.

Royal Dutch Shell gained 0.4 per cent, boosted by the higher crude prices and the oil major’s assertion that the recently enacted US tax reform would have a favourable impact on operations.

Barclays shares rose 0.3 per cent despite the bank saying it expects to take a writedown of about £1 billion pounds on its annual post-tax profit as a result of the tax reform.

European tech stocks tumbled on Wednesday with Austria Microsystems, the best-performing European tech stock this year, sinking 7.78 per cent while fellow iPhone supplier Dialog Semiconductor dropped 1.18 per cent, the biggest falls on the STOXX.

German carmakers BMW and Daimler ended down slightly. Their stocks rose earlier in the session after the German carmakers said late on Friday that the US tax reform would boost 2017 profits to the tune of €1.55 billion and €1.7 billion respectively.

New York
US stocks edged higher on Wednesday, helped by gains in technology and healthcare shares. The best-performing technology sector has declined for the past five trading sessions, falling the most on Tuesday after reports of tepid iPhone X demand hit Apple shares and its suppliers.

Oil prices fell after hitting a near two-and-a-half year high in the previous session, pressuring the S&P energy index.

Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer rose, propping up the S&P healthcare sector. Tesla shares fell more than 1 per cent after brokerage KeyBanc lowered it estimates for Model 3 deliveries to roughly 5,000 units from 15,000 units for the fourth quarter.

Shares of wireless-charging technology developer Energous Corp soared about 80 per cent after it got certification for its wireless charging transmitter.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

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