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US, European markets split as Apple hit with $14.5 billion tax bill

European and US equities markets went in opposite directions, with Wall Street in negative territory after European officials ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes.


US, European markets split as Apple hit with $14.5 billion tax bill

European and US equities markets went in opposite directions, with Wall Street in negative territory after European officials ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes.

Apple`s shares fell 0.8 percent on the Nasdaq, leaving them down 3.2 percent over the last two weeks as the European Commission decision loomed. Apple said it will challenge the ruling that it was given unwarranted tax breaks by Ireland.

Meanwhile, a drop in eurozone business confidence saw markets in Paris and Frankfurt finish higher on expectations that the European Central Bank will increase stimulus measures.

A sharp monthly rise in US consumer confidence for August that was reported Tuesday did not appear to inspire buyers on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 percent while the broader S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.2 percent.

Bill Lynch of Hinsdale Associates told AFP there had been little to move US markets one way or another in late summer trading.

"We were up yesterday so we`re just giving up some of the gains," he said.

Lynch added that markets may be treading water in advance of Friday`s figures on US job creation in March, which will help determine the likelihood of a near-term increase in US interest rates.

Shares in other multinationals which, like Apple, run much of their international operations via Ireland, such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook, also dipped.

Microsoft and HP fell 0.4 percent while Google parent Alphabet Inc was down 0.5 percent.The EU has recently stepped up its campaign against deep corporate tax breaks from member states, last year ordering US coffee giant Starbucks and Italian automaker Fiat each to repay up to 30 million euros in back taxes to the Netherlands and Luxembourg respectively.

ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson said investors were fretting over the longer term implications rather than the size of the fine.

"For Apple and others like it, this could be a watershed," Wilson added.

"Caught between an aggressive EC and the Obama regime`s clampdown on tax inversions, it`s looking increasingly tough for multinationals to avoid paying the going tax rate."

In Europe, Frankfurt`s DAX 30 finished up 1.1 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.8 percent as weak German inflation and a drop in eurozone business confidence raised hopes the ECB will beef up stimulus.

The Economic Sentiment Indicator for the 19-nation eurozone fell one full point to 103.5 in August as Britain`s vote to quit the European Union continued to undermine business and consumer confidence in August.

Meanwhile Germany`s 12-month inflation rate dipped to 0.3 percent in August, suggesting central bank easing is not yet bearing fruit.

"The ECB has reason to increase its policy support, perhaps as soon as next week," Jack Allen at Capital Economics wrote.

London`s FTSE 100 index dipped 0.3 percent after a long holiday weekend.

Asian equities mostly rose on Tuesday, but Tokyo ended slightly lower on tepid data and profit-taking.

From Zee News

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