European Stock Futures Lower; Ukraine Conflict Fears Still Weigh

This post was originally published on this site – European stock markets are expected to open lower Tuesday, with investors remaining concerned over the potential for Russia to invade Ukraine.

At 2 AM ET (0700 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.3% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.5% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.2%.

Global stock markets have been kept on edge as Russia swells troops on the Ukraine border, with the United States warning on Monday that the invasion could start any day.

The U.S. closed its embassy in Kyiv, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken citing the “dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces” on Ukraine’s border.

The focus now turns to talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Moscow later Tuesday as diplomatic efforts to end the crisis continue.

“This week is set to be a pivotal one to gauge how the geopolitical situation develops in Ukraine, with a lot of focus on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s meeting with Putin in Moscow,” said analysts at ING, in a note. “For now, it looks like markets are holding on to a mostly sanguine stance, even though Friday’s price action showed a shift to defensive trades.” 

The economic data slate is pretty full Tuesday, with the highlight being the first estimate for fourth-quarter Eurozone GDP. There are also December unemployment numbers from the bloc as well as the German ZEW economic sentiment release for February.

The U.K. also released labor data, with its December unemployment rate remaining at 4.1% but its January claimant count falling by almost 32,000, more than expected. 

In the corporate sector, DSM (AS:DSMN) will be in focus after the Dutch specialty chemicals maker reported a 13% jump in fourth-quarter core profit, as demand for its nutritional products remained strong despite higher prices.

Oil prices weakened Tuesday, falling back from seven-year highs as traders banked profits, although the focus remained on Russia’s intentions towards Ukraine. Fears of sanctions that could limit Russian supply have been behind crude’s rally toward $100 a barrel.

Elsewhere, talks between the U.S. and Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear deal continue, and investors await U.S. inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.

By 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% lower at $94.94 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.7% to $95.84.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,880.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.1322.