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European Stocks Higher; Ending a Turbulent Week on Positive Note -Breaking


© Reuters

Peter Nurse European stock markets closed higher on Friday as investors digested the possibility of tighter money policy, increased sanctions against Russia and possible political chaos in France.

By 3:50 AM ET (0750 GMT), the in Germany traded 1.4% higher, the in France rose 1.5% and U.K.’s climbed 1%.

Despite the gains, European equity markets will end the week largely lower with the DAX falling 1.2%, the CAC 40 dropping 1.9% and the blue falling 1.6%.

Investors have been rattled this week by the possibility of aggressive global rates hikes. This week, however, the U.S. Federal Reserve made it clear that it is ready to move faster than usual to limit rampant inflation. 

According to their Thursday meeting report, they were more hawkish than the European Central Bank’s policymakers, however, they still seemed keen to deflate stimulus.

The war in Ukraine is not over. Russia was suspended by the United Nations General Assembly from the U.N. Human Rights Council due to allegations that it committed atrocities against civilians. Moscow denied these claims. 

The U.S. Congress also removed its “most favored nation” trade status, and the European Union agreed to ban coal imports, the first time that sanctions have targeted Russia’s crucial energy revenues.

Also on the radar is the risk of a political upset in France, with far-right leader very close to incumbent Emmanuel Macron in the opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s first round of the French presidential election.

In corporate news, Volvo (ST:) stock fell 1% after the Swedish truck maker set aside provisions of 4 billion crowns ($423.2 million), expecting its first quarter operating income to take a hit from uncertainty caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.

After French banks, Banco Bpm stock surged by 14% Credit Agricole SA (PA:), which is up 0.7%, announced that it had purchased a 9.2% share in Italy’s third biggest lender.

Oil prices edged higher Friday but are still heading for weekly losses of around 3%, weighed by the decision of a number of major consuming nations to release massive amounts of crude from emergency reserves as well as China’s worsening demand outlook as its COVID outbreak persists. 

member countries announced earlier this week that they would release 60 million barrels of oil, adding to the 180 million barrel release announced by the United States last week, while China’s COVID-19 outbreak appears to be worsening, with new case numbers topping 21,000 on Thursday.

Futures were trading 0.8% higher at $96.84 per barrel by 3:50 am ET. This is a loss of 3.3%. The contract was up 0.7% to $101.30. That’s down 3.5% this week.

Also, the price of gold fell 0.3% at $1,932.20/oz while it traded 0.2% lower to 1.0858