European shares fall again as Apple weighs on US equities

Shares of Smurfit Kappa tumble 3.6% as boxmaker eyes potential Dublin stock exchange exit

European shares fell for a seventh consecutive session on Thursday as US economic data fuelled fears that further rates rises could be in the pipeline this year.

Apple, meanwhile, continued to weigh down US equities indices with the iPhone maker poised to lose $200 billion (€186 billion) of its market value in just two sessions.


The Iseq All Share Index fell by almost 0.9 per cent as Central Statistics Office figures indicated a jump in Irish headline inflation in August of 6.3 per cent, driven by sharp increases in mortgage rates over the past year.

But the big story moving Irish shares on Thursday was the announcement that Smurfit Kappa is eyeing an exit from the Dublin bourse. The packaging company is in merger talks with US peer WestRock in what would create a cardboard box-making giant with a market value of close to $20 billion (€18.7 billion) and lead to the Irish group’s exit from the Irish Stock Exchange.


It comes in the same month that CRH, the long-standing largest company on the Dublin market, is set to cancel its Irish listing.

Shares of Smurfit fell by more than 3.7 per cent on the day to €36.10 per share

Banking stocks, meanwhile, remained out of sorts, in line with European trends. AIB tumbled more than 3 per cent to €3.97 per share, while Bank of Ireland shed 1.26 per cent to close at €8.62 per share.


Recent heavy going continued in European markets on Thursday with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index down 0.2 per cent with the blue-chip Stoxx 50 off by 0.5 per cent.

European banks compounded recent losses, with shares in lenders BBVA, Santander and ING shedding between 1 per cent and 1.3 per cent of their value.

However, rates-sensitive tech stocks were among the worst performers on the session, hurt by a report that China is seeking to broaden its iPhone ban to state firms and agencies. Dutch semiconductor company ASML tumbled almost 3.8 per cent, while its German competitor Infineon was off by 2.7 per cent and Dutch tech investor Prosus shed 3 per cent.

Miners were also among the biggest losers Europe, down 1.6 per cent by midday, as prices of most metals fell against a strong dollar.


UK shares trod water with the benchmark FTSE 100 ahead slightly less than 0.2 per cent, outperforming its European peers.

The mid-cap FTSE 250, meanwhile, plunged a further 0.4 per cent, led lower by Synthomer. Shares in the British chemical company tanked almost 26 per cent after it announced a £276 million cash call designed to rapidly reduce its debt pile.

Industrial miners Antofagasta, Rio Tinto and Anglo American were among the worst performers amid declining metal prices, shedding between 2 per cent and almost 3 per cent of their value.

UK turnaround specialist Melrose Industries led the table, surging 5.5 per cent after upping its full-year profit guidance by 8 per cent.

New York

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell on Thursday with Apple leading declines in megacap growth stocks on concerns over China’s iPhone curbs, while weaker-than-expected jobless claims data stoked worries about sticky inflation.

Apple dropped 3.6 per cent on news that China has widened curbs on the use of iPhones by state employees, requiring staff at some central government agencies to stop using their mobile phones at work.

The impact was felt in other megacap tech stocks with the S&P 500 information technology index falling 2 per cent. Tesla, Nvidia and Amazon fell between 1 per cent and 3.4 per cent in early trading.

Shares of Apple suppliers including Skyworks Solutions, Qualcomm and Qorvo also slid between 4 per cent and 5.3 per cent.

Fuelling concerns about interest rates staying elevated for longer, a labour department report showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment claims was well below estimates for the first week in September.

“If you’re invested in stocks you want the economy to slow but not collapse, so any strength in the economy is going to lead people to believe that the Fed is going to possibly raise interest rate in September,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times