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European tech stocks flirt with bear market as investors worry on outlook

Key Points
  • The European tech sector is more than 18 percent lower than its June peak.
  • Several firms reported forecasts on Tuesday that have disappointed the investment community.
  • Tech stocks worldwide have witnessed strong volatility during 2018.
A worker carries computer mice at the Logitech International SA factory in Suzhou, China.
Nelson Ching | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tech stocks in Europe are flirting with bear market territory after the outlook for earnings has dipped.

The European tech sector has lost 18.5 percent since its June peak and has shed more than 6 percent in value in the last 5 days of trade. By the end of Tuesday morning trade, every single stock in the sector had lost value.

A bear market is a market in which prices are falling and is generally considered as triggered by a 20 percent downturn from an asset's 52-week high.

Europe's tech sector gave up almost 4 percent in value on Tuesday morning, with Austrian chipmaker, AMS, proving the biggest drag.

AMS saw its shares shed almost a third of value at the open of trade, before paring losses to sit around 27 percent lower shortly after 11.00 a.m. London time.

The Apple supplier had reported a 57 percent jump in third quarter sales from the same period last year but its forecast for fourth quarter earnings missed estimates, prompting investors to hit sell. The stock, which trades in Switzerland, was halted several times for volatility.

Another huge loser in European trading on Monday was the French IT services firm ATOS, which by around 11.00 a.m. had fallen around 23 percent, putting it on course for its worst day since 1993.

ATOS reported a third quarter revenue of 2.88 billion euros ($3.3 bn) but again disappointed on its outlook, when it forecast a tepid 1 percent sales growth across all of 2018. The firm had previously guided that the figure would sit between 2 and 3 percent.

The Swiss personal computer company Logitech also failed to rouse tech stock buyers, despite reporting record second quarter sales. After the firm maintained its outlook for the full fiscal year, the stock sold off as much as 6 percent.

The gloomy sentiment on prospects for European tech, prompted some selling on other major stocks such as Infineon and ST Micro Electronics which had both shed around 5 percent in value by the end of Tuesday morning trade.