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Apple outlook weighs on global markets

This July 9, 2015 photo shows a Wall Street sign near the New York Stock Exchange in New York. U.S. stocks were mostly lower in early trading Tuesday, July 21, 2015, following weak corporate earnings results from IBM, United Technologies and other big companies. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

LONDON (AP) — A cautious outlook from Apple coupled with indifferent earnings from U.S. technology firms weighed on global stock markets Wednesday ahead of another key vote in the Greek Parliament.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.1 percent to 6,693 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.4 percent to 5,085. Germany’s DAX was 0.6 percent lower at 11,534. U.S. stocks were poised for a lower opening too, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.4 percent.

APPLE CONCERN: Though Apple’s quarterly earnings beat expectations, the company’s lukewarm forecast for the current period, combined with uncertainty over the new Apple Watch, drove its shares down more than 6 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday.

ANALYST TAKE: “China is at the core of Apple’s problem, and the iPhone maker is becoming too dependent on a single country which is having big problems of its own,” said David Madden, market analyst at IG.

NOT JUST APPLE: There was also disappointment that Microsoft booked an $8.4 billion charge related to the write-off of the Nokia phone business it bought just over a year ago. Though it narrowly beat analysts’ depressed expectations for a quarter, the company also reported a steep decline in personal computer sales even as it prepares to launch its latest operating system, Windows 10.

ANOTHER GREEK VOTE: Though fears of a Greek exit from the euro have faded somewhat following last week’s decision by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to back further austerity measures in return for a third bailout of the country, some hurdles remain to be cleared. On Wednesday, Greek lawmakers have to back further economic reforms demanded by international creditors in return for the new bailout.

ASIA’S DAY: Asian stocks closed lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.2 percent to 20,593.67 and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.9 percent to 2,064.73. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1 percent to 25,282.62. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.6 percent to 5,614.60.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 54 cents to $50.32 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 37 cents at $56.67 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: Trading in foreign exchange markets was tepid with the euro steady at $1.0934 and the dollar down 0.1 percent to 123.75 yen.

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