European shares dip as financials curb Apple-led tech rally

LONDON (Reuters) – Semiconductor firms’ shares were a bright spot on Wednesday in a lackluster European market, weighed down by a fall among mining stocks and banks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index as well euro zone bluechips fell 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.3 percent.

Tech stocks were among the strongest sectoral performers with Apple suppliers Dialog Semiconductor and AMS jumping 3.8 percent and 4.7 percent respectively after optimism on future demand for the iPhone lifted Apple shares to a record high overnight.

“The big movers that we see in the German market today are in technology,” David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.

The rise in tech was not enough to outweigh falls among mining firms and oil stocks, which declined on the back of weaker metals and oil prices.

Iron ore miner Rio Tinto was the biggest faller in the basic resources sector, dropping 2.3 percent after it reported first half earnings. Analysts said they were slightly behind their expectations. The firm also announced an interim dividend and an additional $1 billion share buyback.

“We were disappointed at the increased buyback – we would have preferred to see a higher dividend instead,” analysts at Shore Capital Markets said in a note.

CMC Markets’ Madden added that results which undershot expectations were being punished more than upbeat earnings were being rewarded.

“It’s almost like investors are happy to pounce on negative news and sell negative news, but they’re not as keen to go out and buy when the results are good.”

Valuations are already high and running above long-term averages, suggesting that good earnings are much less a surprise than earnings disappointments.

Disappointing results from Societe Generale and Commerzbank were a drag on euro zone banks. The sector index fell 1.2 percent. Natixis jumped around 2 percent, however, on the back of higher profits for the period.

Well-received earnings boosted shares in gambling firm William Hill, which rocketed more than 9 percent to the top of the STOXX, while results also spurred sizeable moves in Hugo Boss and Lufthansa.

Around halfway through the results season, second quarter earnings in Europe are expected to increase 13.4 percent year on year, or 11.2 percent excluding the energy sector, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Vikram Subhedar and Raissa Kasolowsky

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