London’s benchmark share index tumbled 1.5 per cent, driven lower by a cocktail of factors including disappointing numbers from US technology giant Apple and hints that a rise in UK interest rates could be drawing nearer.
Falling oil and gold prices were also in the mix as the FTSE-100 ended the session down 101.73 points at 6,667.34. Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40 were also lower.
It came after billions of dollars were wiped off the value of Apple despite announcing quarterly profits up 38 per cent to $10.7bn (£6.8bn).
The technology giant was given the thumbs down by Wall Street as its latest update failed to provide much detail on the performance of its new smartwatch and gave a cautious outlook for the current quarter.
Tony Cross, market analyst, Trustnet Direct, said: “The FTSE-100 has certainly taken something of a toll through the session with fears of a technology sell off spurred by those numbers from Apple and the prospect of rate hike from rhetoric closer to home doing nothing to encourage buyer into the market.”
Arm Holdings was the biggest top-flight faller after the Apple results – despite Arm itself reporting a 22 per cent rise in quarterly revenue.
The group, whose chip designs help power Apple products, saw its shares slide nearly 7 per cent, or 69p, to 970p.
Airline EasyJet was the top-flight’s best performer, adding 5 per cent, or 82p, to 1,748p after it raised its annual profits outlook.
Elsewhere a fall in the price of gold – which suffered a “flash crash” taking it to a five-year low earlier in the week – weighed on a number of miners. BHP Billiton fell nearly 6 per cent, or 71.5p, to 1,180p while Anglo American was down 48.2p at 813.5p.
Among the risers on the FTSE 100 were RSA Insurance, up 9.3p to 449.5p, and Sage, which was 5.5p better off at 541p.