Europe Markets

Europe ends lower; tech stocks, commodities in focus

Europe ends lower; tech stocks, commodities in focus

European equity markets closed in the red on Wednesday, as U.S. technology earnings disappointed investors and the fall in commodity prices weighed on sentiment.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished the day around 0.6 percent lower.

Brent crude oil fell by around 0.9 percent, while light crude traded down around 1.9 percent. Spot gold prices fell by 0.7 percent, having hit a five-year low during trading.

The downturn in commodities hit big mining companies, dragging down Britain's FTSE 100. The benchmark index finished trade around 1.5 percent lower.

The French CAC and German DAX closed down around 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. Spain's IBEX 35 however eked out some gains, ending around 0.2 percent higher.

Shares of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore were among the worst performers on the FTSE 100, all closing more than 5 percent lower. Notably, Anglo American hit its lowest level in 13 years on Wednesday.

However, ARM knocked up the index's worst show, closing 6.6 percent lower. The company is a major provider of semiconductors to Apple, so was hit heavily when Apple issued a weaker outlook for the next quarter late on Tuesday. Little solace came from the news that ARM itself enjoyed a healthy 15 percent year-on-year rise in second-quarter revenue.

Shares in other European companies that do business with Apple also performed poorly, with Dialog Semiconductor and German semiconductor maker Infineon closing down around 5.2 and 6.3 percent respectively.

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U.S. stocks traded lower on Wednesday as key tech earnings disappointed most investors, including those from Microsoft and Yahoo. This weighed on European technology stocks, with the pan-European STOXX 600 technology sector finishing around 1.6 percent lower.

Brighter news came from Danske Bank, which reported better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday. This sent its shares up to close over 3.2 percent higher.

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Easyjet was another bright spot, ending trade up around 4.9 percent, after the airline reported strong profit guidance.

However, U.K. telecoms group TalkTalk warned on tough competition in the broadband market on Wednesday, pushing shares in the company down around 8.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Greece is being watched by investors as the country's parliament prepares to vote Wednesday on a second set of reforms that are vital for it to secure a third bailout package.

Elsewhere, U.K. Finance Minister George Osborne's austerity program went a step further on Tuesday as he challenged some government departments to find spending cuts of up to 40 percent by the end of the decade.