European markets close mixed amid tech sell-off; Shire shares surge 14%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.25 percent higher provisionally, with most major bourses in positive territory and sectors pointing in different directions.
  • Investors rotated out of the technology sector, following an uproar over the alleged misuse of Facebook users' data by political consultants Cambridge Analytica.
  • Electronic chip maker Austria Microsystems slumped to the bottom of the European benchmark, off more than 9 percent.

European markets closed mixed Wednesday, with investor sentiment dampened by sharp falls in the technology sector.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.25 percent higher provisionally, with most major bourses finishing in positive territory and sectors pointing in different directions.

Tech tanks

Technology stocks were down almost 2 percent. Investors rotated out of the sector, following an uproar over the alleged misuse of Facebook users' data by political consultants Cambridge Analytica. Electronic chip maker Austria Microsystems slumped to the bottom of the European benchmark, off more than 9 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks slipped in midday deals, also dragged down by the technology sector. Tech giants Apple and Amazon pressured the tech-heavy Nasdaq index. Amazon's stock fell after a report said that President Donald Trump wanted to "go after" the company, while Apple's dropped after Goldman Sachs analysts said they expect a decline in iPhone sales.

Back in Europe, Shire surged to the top of the index despite a Tokyo court rejecting the pharmaceutical giant's claim against a rival group's drug. A Japanese court ruled Shire's claim against Swiss drugmaker Roche's new Hemlibra hemophilia medicine should be dismissed on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The decision is thought to help clear up any legal uncertainty over the prospective blockbuster medicine. Shares of Shire finished up 14 percent on the news.

Meanwhile, Dutch consumer goods firm Unilever got a boost after UBS upgraded the stock from a "neutral" to a "buy." Shares of Unilever closed up 4.7 percent.