(Recasts with closing levels; adds details)
* FTSEurofirst 300 ends flat; DAX, CAC, IBEX, MIB dip
* Jitters over Scotland vote keep investors on edge
* Santander stock falls after Chairman Botin dies
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - European stocks ended flat on Wednesday, as worries over Scotland’s vote on independence and growing expectations of a more hawkish stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve kept investors on edge.
The market has become concerned that supporters of Scottish independence have been gaining in opinion polls, a week before a referendum on the issue. They were also worried by rising U.S. bond yields, anticipating a more hawkish tone at a Fed policy meeting next week.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.02 percent higher at 1,385.77 points. The benchmark index has erased all the gains spurred by the European Central Bank’s moves last week to support the region’s economy.
Around Europe, Germany’s DAX index fell 0.1 percent and both France’s CAC 40 and Italy’s MIB lost 0.04 percent. Spain’s IBEX slipped 0.1 percent, weighed by a drop in the shares of Santander.
The Spanish bank lost 0.7 percent as the death of its chairman prompted worries over succession. Emilio Botin, who transformed Santander from a small domestic lender into the euro zone’s biggest bank, died of a heart attack on Tuesday night.
“He was perceived as the man who built Santander into a global bank,” said Javier Bernat Valenzuela, an analyst at Beka Finance in Madrid. “He has been the person who has looked after the bank for the last 30 years. But you have to realise there will not be significant changes because the bank is pretty well structured.”
Shortly after the European market’s closing bell, Santander’s board of directors said in a statement they have appointed Ana Botin as chairwoman to replace her father.
Shares in tech firm Gemalto featured among the top gainers across Europe on Wednesday, adding 1.1 percent after Apple Inc introduced a new mobile payments service dubbed “Apple Pay” with its latest iPhone launch. Gemalto is a maker of smart chips for mobile phones, bank cards and biometric passports. It pioneered the use of smart cards.
“Apple is the last smartphone manufacturer finally adopting the NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, but this should clearly boost the adoption of this payment technology worldwide,” a Paris-based trader said.
UK’s FTSE 100 index ended flat, while sterling hit a 10-month low against the dollar, with traders citing an online survey on Scottish independence which gave the “Yes” camp a strong lead.
Market talk surrounded another poll due to be released late on Wednesday by the Survation polling agency for the Daily Record. The agency said on Twitter that those results would be “very interesting”.
Shares in Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland fell 0.6 percent.
“The market’s scepticism that Scotland will vote for independence on 18th September has been meaningfully tested by recent opinion polls, which have shown the sizeable majority in the ‘No’ camp evaporate into statistical insignificance,” Toby Nangle, head of multi-asset allocation at Threadneedle Investments, wrote in a note.
“Even if the ‘Yes’ vote fails to win the day, a close vote could mean companies could start organising their affairs on the basis that separation remains possible, leading to lower investment in Scotland.”
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta in London; Editing by Larry King, Ruth Pitchford