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European Stocks Mixed; FTSE 100 Outperforms, While Banks Slump

Stock Markets Mar 02, 2022 04:06AM ET
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By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded in a mixed manner Wednesday, with the FTSE 100, heavy with resources stocks, outperforming, while sentiment remained fragile as the conflict in Ukraine intensifies.

By 4:05 AM ET (0905 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.9% lower and the CAC 40 in France dropped 0.8%, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7%.

The war in Ukraine continues to rage Wednesday, with Russian troops now appearing to target Ukrainian cities as they advance on the capital Kyiv.

Russia is aiming to erase Ukraine, its history, and people, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video earlier Wednesday, calling for more international support.

Most of the European equity markets weakened Wednesday, following on from Tuesday’s sharp losses, but the FTSE 100 in the U.K. has outperformed, helped by the number of resource stocks in the index, with commodity prices soaring as the sanctions on Russia disrupt global supplies.

The stocks of oil giants BP (NYSE:BP) and Shell (LON:RDSa) both rose over 3%, miners Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), BHP Billiton (NYSE:BBL) and Anglo American (LON:AAL) climbed between 2% and 4%, while commodity trader Glencore (OTC:GLNCY) stock rose 2.9%.

Two Russia-focused miners, Evraz (LON:EVRE) and Polymetal International PLC (LON:POLYP) are set to be removed from the benchmark index later Wednesday, after sharp selloffs in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. Evraz has slumped 60% since the start of last week, while Polymetal shares have plunged almost 80%. Both miners combined account for less than 0.1% of the total index.

Elsewhere, European banks have been hard hit as they attempt to cope with links to Russia and the impact of the severe sanctions imposed on the country’s lenders.

Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, is leaving the European market, with the lender stating it’s no longer able to supply liquidity to its European subsidiary banks which were facing large cash outflows.

Additionally, Raiffeisen Bank International (VIE:RBIV) stock fell 5.6%, with Reuters reporting the Austrian bank is looking into leaving Russia, while ING (AS:INGA) stock fell 4.8% and Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) dropped 2.4%.

Nokian Renkaat (HE:TYRES) stock slumped 15% as investors expressed concerns about the tire manufacturer’s exposure to Russia. 

Back in Europe, the German unemployment rate fell to 5.0% in February, from 5.1% the previous month, while the number of unemployed fell by 33,000.

The economic main focus of the day will be on the Eurozone CPI release for February, which is expected to continue to rise, to 5.3% year-on-year, from 5.1% in January.

Oil prices soared to seven-year highs, climbing above $110 a barrel, as traders sought out alternate sources of crude in an already tight market, avoiding Russian supply, following the sanctions on Russian banks.

These gains come despite Tuesday’s announcement of a coordinated release of 60 million barrels of oil by International Energy Agency member countries.

The market will look later Wednesday to the meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, together known as OPEC+, for news of future output levels. The group is widely expected to stick to its previously announced plans to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply each month. 

Also due later in the session is the weekly U.S. crude inventory from the Energy Information Administration. This follows the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reporting late Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 6.1 million barrels last week, a vivid illustration of the tightness of the overall market.

By 4:10 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 6.4% higher at $110.02 a barrel, after earlier hitting the highest since September 2013, while the Brent contract rose 6.3% to $111.57, trading above $110 for the first time since July 2014.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,939.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.5% lower at 1.1070.

European Stocks Mixed; FTSE 100 Outperforms, While Banks Slump

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Ally S Maimbul
Ally S Maimbul Mar 02, 2022 8:59AM ET
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