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European Stocks Slide on Russia-Ukraine Tensions

The news shaping the markets today

Thailand’s economy grew 1.8% in the final quarter of 2021, beating market expectations of 1.4% growth, and lent support to the THB/USD forex pair.


The People’s Bank of China held its one-year loan prime rate at 3.7% at its recent meeting. The CNY/USD pair remained almost flat in forex trading this morning.


Japan’s manufacturing PMI fell to 52.9 in February, from a final reading of 55.4 a month ago. Despite the decline, the country’s manufacturing activity remained in the expansion zone, which supported the JPY/USD forex pair.


Australia’s services PMI climbed to 56.4 in February, from 46.6 in the previous month. This being the fastest growth in eight months sent the AUD/USD pair higher in forex trading this morning.


Canada’s retail sales grew 2.4% in January, providing support to the CAD/USD forex pair.

 

What’s happening: European stocks closed lower on Friday, as investors assessed continued tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

What happened: Market sentiment was supported earlier in the session by Russia announcing a withdrawal of some troops from Ukraine’s border. However, investors continued to be concerned, with no resolution in sight.

Investors now hope for a diplomatic solution to the continued geopolitical tensions.

Why it matters: Although Russia announced that it had withdrawn some troops from Ukraine’s border, US leaders indicated there were no signs of this. Markets became hopeful after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed to meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov next week.

However, stocks cut back their earlier gains after a separatist leader in eastern Ukraine reported an evacuation of residents to Russia, saying that Russia had agreed to accommodate the evacuees.

Investors also monitored earnings releases in Europe, with companies like Allianz, Sika and NatWest reporting on Friday. Allianz posted downbeat earnings, although revenues exceeded estimates. Shares of Hermes lost more than 4% after the company’s sales for the fourth quarter came in below market views.

Market sentiment was also hurt by a decline in Eurozone’s consumer confidence indicator by 0.3 points to a reading of -8.8 in January. The Eurozone’s current account surplus also narrowed to €35.6 billion in December, from €42.3 billion in the corresponding month last year.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8% to close at 460.81 on Friday, with travel and leisure shares being among the worst performers. London’s FTSE 100 declined by 0.32%, while DAX 40 and CAC 40 lost 1.47% and 0.25%, respectively.

What to watch: Investors await the release of manufacturing, services, and composite PMIs from the Eurozone today. The IHS Markit manufacturing PMI is expected to remain unchanged at 58.7 in February, while the services PMI is projected rise to 52, from 51.1 in January. The IHS Markit composite PMI, which was revised slightly lower to 52.3 in January, is expected to improve to 52.7 in February.

The markets today

Bitcoin will be in focus today after recording losses on Friday

 

Context: Bitcoin declined on Friday, falling below the $40,000 mark for the first time in two weeks.

Details: Market sentiment remained subdued due to the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. While experts remain bullish about a cryptocurrency rally this year, the recent Russia-Ukraine developments have prevented that so far.

Meanwhile, markets rejoiced the Ukraine parliament’s vote to legalise cryptocurrencies. “Ukraine is already in the top-5 countries on cryptocurrency usage. Today we made one more step forward: Parliament adopted a law on virtual assets! This will legalise crypto exchanges and cryptocurrencies, and Ukrainians could protect their assets from possible abuse or fraud,” Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Twitter.

Markets also remained on the sidelines due to expectations of aggressive actions by the US Federal Reserve to control rising inflation in the country.

Bitcoin prices fell below $40,000 for the first time in two weeks on Friday, after shedding more than 7% on Thursday. This was the steepest decline in four weeks. The crypto king fell below the $38,500 mark over the weekend.

What to watch: Crypto traders will continue monitoring developments between Russia and Ukraine and rake hike announcements by the US Fed.

Other Markets: US indices closed lower on Friday, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 down by 0.68%, 0.72% and 1.14%, respectively

Support & resistances for today

Technical Levels News Sentiment

EUR/USD – 1.1358 and 1.1369



Positive


FTSE 100 – 7,503.81 and 7,522.39


Positive


DAX 40 – 15,000.69 and 15,065.41


Negative


CAC 40 – 6,902.70 and 6,936.25


Negative


WTI Crude Oil – 89.52 and 89.74 Negative

 

Market snapshot

What else to watch today

Germany’s producer price inflation, manufacturing PMI, services PMI and composite PMI, Turkey’s tourist arrivals and government debt, France’s manufacturing PMI, services PMI and composite PMI, UK’s manufacturing PMI, services PMI and composite PMI, Central Bank of Brazil’s focus market readout, Russia’s monetary policy report, as well as Canada’s ADP employment change.


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