European shares fall as chipmakers surrender gains, economic woes loom

European shares fall as chipmakers surrender gains, economic woes loom

European shares closed in the red on Thursday, as the early rally in chipmakers fizzled and miners snapped a three-day winning streak, while concerns over any economic downturn kept investors on edge.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (.STOXX) fell 0.4%, reversing from a more than 1% jump to a one-week high during the day.

The technology sector index (.SX8P) had advanced nearly 2% to a two-week high following the world’s most valuable chipmaker Nvidia’s (NVDA.O) stellar quarterly revenue forecast and buyback program, but gave up gains through the course of the day to close 2.4% lower.

In fact, it was the worst performer among sector indexes.

European chipmakers like Infineon (IFXGn.DE), Siltronic (WAFGn.DE), Swiss-based Temenos (TEMN.S), AMS Osram , VAT (VACN.S), Amsterdam-listed ASML Holding (ASML.AS) and ASM International (ASMI.AS), and BE Semiconductor (BESI.AS) all lost between 1.3% and 6.3%.

“We continue to be optimistic about what AI means in terms of operational performance, but this isn’t going to be driven by one company and one earnings report,” said Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays Private Bank.

“Markets were not only putting Nvidia’s performance under a microscope, but were seeing it as a bellwether for the AI revolution … perhaps that reality is sinking in with the investment community this afternoon.”

Another headwind for the technology sector was rising euro zone bond yields, that among other factors have set the STOXX 600 for its worst monthly decline this year.

It has also underperformed the U.S. benchmark S&P 500’s (.SPX) near 15% year-to-date advance with a 6.3% up move on concerns over the weakening economic outlook for the euro zone and major importer China, and fears of interest rates remaining higher for longer.

All eyes will be on remarks from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Friday at the Jackson Hole Symposium.

Meanwhile, traders leaned towards an ECB rate-hike pause in September amid growing signs of economic woes on the continent, with the latest survey revealing a deeper-than-expected downturn in euro zone business activity, particularly in its largest economy Germany.

Further, Sweden’s finance minister noted its economy is facing a deeper economic downturn this year than previously predicted, but high inflation means the government cannot loosen fiscal taps in the autumn budget.

Miners (.SXPP) lost 1%, tracking lower metals prices, while a 0.5% rise in financial stocks (.SXFP) staved off a sharper and broader market fall.

Among individual stocks, Danish provider of allergy treatment products Alk-Abello (ALKb.CO) jumped 7% to top the STOXX 600 after second-quarter operating profit almost doubled year-on-year, while Norway-based fish farmer SalMar (SALM.OL) gained 3.6% after second-quarter results.

Meanwhile, Swedish games developer Embracer (EMBRACb.ST) dropped 7.2% to the bottom of the STOXX 600, hitting an over one-month low.

Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Sonia Cheema and Chris Reese


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