Disappointment over U.S. corporate earnings, most notably at Apple Inc (AAPL.O), the world’s largest company, pushed stocks lower on Wednesday and investors towards the shelter of bonds.
Retrenchment and caution dominated trading in other assets, with the dollar slipping a little further from its recent highs and commodities such as gold and oil resuming their downturn.
Stocks will look to corporate earnings on both sides of the Atlantic for direction. Meanwhile, the Greek parliament will vote on reforms it must undertake for talks on a multi-billion euro bailout to start this week, which will help determine broader sentiment in Europe.
The FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading European shares fell 0.5 percent in early trade to 1,588 points .FTEU3. Germany’s DAX .GDAXI fell 0.6 percent to 11,534 points and France’s CAC 40 .FCHI was down 0.5 percent at 5,079 points.
Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE, which is more exposed to the mining and energy sectors, was down 0.7 percent. British investors are also awaiting the latest Bank of England policy minutes, which may show a more hawkish tilt towards raising rates.
“Despite a beat at the earnings level and a surge in revenue from China, the market latched onto disappointing overall iPhone shipments relative to street expectations,” said Jim Reid at Deutsche Bank in London, of Apple’s results.
“Combined with a near-4 percent fall for Microsoft in extended trading after a similarly disappointing report, (U.S.) futures have fallen this morning.”
S&P futures showed Wall Street expected to open down around 0.5 percent ESc1.
European bourses were also weighed down by a 4 percent fall in chip maker Arm Holdings (ARM.L). Although ARM posted a 32 percent rise in second-quarter profit, the results from Apple, a major customer, hit hard.
Earlier in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slid 1 percent, its biggest decline in two weeks.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 ended down 1.2 percent, snapping its six-day rising streak and pulling away from Tuesday’s nearly four-week closing high as the Apple news reverberated on related tech shares.
Following its tumble to a five-year low on Monday, investors remained wary of gold. It reversed Tuesday’s rebound to trade down 0.7 percent on the day to $1,090.95 per ounce XAU=.
“We believe gold should range trade around current levels, but do not dismiss the possibility of further price falls, given the lack of safe-haven interest,” Barclays commodities analysts wrote in a note to clients.
Crude oil futures were still under pressure too, as investors worried about ample supply. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 1.5 percent at $50.10 and Brent LCOc1 shed more than 1 percent to $56.43.
In currencies, the euro edged up to $1.0950 EUR=, continuing its rebound from Monday’s three-month low of $1.0808, and the dollar index slipped 0.1 percent to 97.218 .DXY. On Tuesday, it rose as high as 98.151, a level not seen since late April.
Sterling was the biggest mover among major currencies. It was up 0.4 percent against the dollar at $1.5615 GBP=, supported by expectations the Bank of England will raise interest rates around the turn of the year.
On Greece, Standard & Poor’s upgraded its sovereign credit rating on Tuesday by two notches and revised its outlook to stable from negative, citing euro zone countries’ initial agreement to start negotiations with Athens on a third bailout.
European bond markets awaited the Greek parliament vote, sticking to narrow ranges. Benchmark 10-year Bund yields fell a basis point to 0.77 percent EU10YT=RR, and Italian yields were steady at 1.96 percent IT10YT=RR.
“The newsflow since last week’s deal does not fill us with great hope about the design of the pending deal, which is one reason we retain a fairly pessimistic view about what has been solved in Greece,” said Michael Michaelides at RBS.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries slipped a basis point to 2.33 percent US10YT=RR.