Ukraine, monetary policy in focus

LONDON — European markets were mixed on Friday, as investors continued to monitor the war in Ukraine and assess the outlook for global monetary policy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered fractionally below the flatline in early trade, with banks shedding 0.9% while food and beverage stocks gained 0.4%.

Global markets have been tracking negotiations over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine closely, and Thursday saw a host of high-level meetings between world leaders and international bodies.

NATO committed extra troops along its eastern flank, the U.K. and U.S. rolled out more sanctions against Russian elites and officials, and the U.S. announced billions more in aid to Ukraine.

It comes as markets endure another choppy week, with a hawkish pivot from the U.S. Federal Reserve fueling bets that monetary policy will be tightened aggressively in a bid to rein in runaway inflation.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday, with Chinese stocks falling sharply and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropping 3% by afternoon deals.

Stateside, stock futures were little changed in early premarket trade after Wall Street bounced back strongly during regular trading hours on Thursday, and is now heading for a second straight positive week.

Russian shares endured a wild ride on Thursday as they returned to limited trading after a month on the sidelines following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, and subsequent punitive international sanctions.

The volatility looks set to continue, and the MOEX Russia Index pulled back in early trade in Moscow on Friday.

On the data front, Germany’s Ifo Business Climate Index will be published later on Friday morning.

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