* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct; erases ECB-spurred rally
* Jitters over Scotland vote rattle investors
* Santander stock falls after Chairman Botin dies
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - European stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, erasing what was left of the gains spurred by the European Central Bank’s rate cut and other measures introduced last week to support the region’s economy.
Investors were concerned that supporters of Scottish independence were gaining in opinion polls, a week before the country votes on the issue. They were also worried by rising U.S. bond yields, as expectations grew that the Federal Reserve will take a more hawkish stance at a policy meeting next week.
At 1400 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,382.34 points. The index has lost 1.5 percent since it hit a peak last Thursday after the ECB announcement.
Around Europe, Germany’s DAX index fell 0.4 percent, France’s CAC 40 0.3 percent and Italy’s MIB 0.1 percent. Spain’s IBEX was down 0.6 percent, hurt by a drop in the shares of Santander.
The Spanish bank was down 1.3 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.”
Shares in tech firm Gemalto bucked the trend, surging 2.2 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 lost 0.2 percent as sterling hit a 10-month low against the dollar, with traders citing an online survey on the Scottish independence which gave the “Yes” camp a strong lead.
Market talk surrounded the prospect of 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 Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland were down 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
“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 Alison Williams, Larry King