Monday February 21st


European stocks choppy with Russia-Ukraine tensions, PMIs in focus

Markets in the U.S. are closed on Monday for a holiday. European markets were choppy on Monday as investors monitored the Russia-Ukraine situation and unexpectedly strong economic data from the euro zone and U.K. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 1% during afternoon trade, having gained as much as 0.6% at the start of the session. Tech stocks dropped 2.4% as most sectors and major bourses slid into the red. U.S. President Joe Biden has accepted “in principle” a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, paving the way for last-ditch diplomatic efforts to avert an invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Monday, as investors continued to watch the situation surrounding Ukraine. Meanwhile, China left a benchmark lending rate unchanged. The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 2% momentarily in morning trade before retracing some of those losses, eventually ending the trading day 0.78% lower at 26,910.87 while the Topix index shed 0.71% to 1,910.68. South Korea’s Kospi closed mildly lower at 2,743.80. Mainland Chinese stocks closed little changed, the Shanghai composite largely flat at 3,490.61 while the Shenzhen component climbed fractionally to 13,471.16. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined about 0.8%, as of its final hour of trading. Oil prices fell on Monday on a plan for U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin to hold a summit on the Ukraine crisis and on prospects of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in the next week or two. The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Monday he had pitched to both leaders a summit over “security and strategic stability in Europe.” The White House said Biden had accepted the meeting “in principle” but only “if an invasion hasn’t happened.” Brent crude futures fell 73 cents or 0.8% to $92.81 at 0224 GMT after having jumped more $1 than to $95.00 in early trade, its highest level since Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures similarly fell 52 cents or 0.6% to $90.55 a barrel after having hit a high of $92.93. Gold prices fell from a more than eight-month high hit earlier on Monday, as safe-haven demand eased after the U.S. president agreed to meet his Russian counterpart over the Ukraine crisis. Spot gold fell 0.2% to $1,893.80 per ounce by 0139 GMT, retreating from $1,908.02 — its highest since June 3 hit earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,898.60.