End of volatile week with Fed plans, Russia in focus

LONDON — European markets advanced on Friday to end a volatile trading week as investors assess the pace of the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening plans and news from Ukraine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index jumped 1.1% in early trade, with autos adding 1.7% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.

The European blue chip index closed slightly lower on Thursday despite having been up by around 0.8% at one stage, as volatility continued following details of the Fed’s plans to tighten its balance sheet and hike interest rates to contain runaway inflation.

The U.S. Congress has voted to revoke Russia’s trade status and ban oil and gas imports, along with banning all new investment in the country and sanctioning President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, after reports of rape and torture against civilians by Russian forces in Ukraine.

The atrocities drew condemnation from G-7 members, who voted to remove Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with G-7 and NATO leaders in Brussels to discuss weapons supply to Ukraine.

The European Union has also approved new sanctions against Russia, including a landmark embargo on Russian coal imports.

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Investors worldwide are also keeping an eye on the fallout from China’s tight Covid-19 controls as it battles another surge in cases, potentially further disrupting global supply chains.

Markets in Asia-Pacific gave up early gains to mostly pull back on Friday, losing overnight momentum from a comeback on Wall Street as investors continued to monitor the Fed’s plans to fight inflation.

U.S. stock futures were little changed in early premarket trade after the major averages staged a late-day comeback on Thursday.

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