European stocks surge, Asia down after Wall Street retreat


BEIJING –


European stocks and Wall Street futures rebounded Wednesday as investors watched diplomatic efforts to end Russia’s attack on Ukraine, while Asian markets sank after Chinese inflation accelerated.


Already high oil prices added more than US$1 per barrel and then gave up those gains following President Joe Biden’s ban on imports of Russian crude.


London and Frankfurt opened higher. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong declined amid enduring unease about the war’s global impact.


Futures for Wall Street’s S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were up more than 1% after the market slid Tuesday.


“Financial markets seem calmer” as Ukrainian and Russian diplomats prepare to meet in Turkey, Chris Turner and Francesco Pesole of ING said in a report. “Yet energy prices look set to stay high as the West weans itself off Russian exports.”


The FTSE 100 in London jumped 1.6% to 7,079.13. Frankfurt’s DAX surged 4.9% to 13,454.38 and the CAC 40 in Paris jumped 4.6% to 6,234.13.


Analysts said investors appeared to be snagging bargains after recent losses.


On Wall Street, the S&P 500 sank 0.7% on Tuesday for its fourth straight daily decline. It is now 13.1% below its latest record high.


The Dow lost 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite retreated 0.3%. On Monday, it closed 20% below its record high.


In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.1% to 3,256.39 after China’s government reported consumer prices rose 0.6% in February over the previous month, picking up from January’s 0.4% gain.


The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo slid 0.3% to 24,717.53. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.7% to 20,627.71 after being down 2.2% at one point.


“Inflation will pick up” as prices of oil and other commodities rise due to the Ukraine war, Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report. That “will have a much more pronounced impact on the March figures.”


Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 climbed 1% to 7,053.00 and India’s Sensex advanced 2.3% to 54.684.42.


New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose. South Korean markets were closed for a presidential election.


Benchmark U.S. crude fell $3.60 to $120.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $4.30 on Tuesday to $123.70.


Brent crude, the basis for international oil prices, gave up $3.22 to $124.76 per barrel in London. It advanced $4.77 the previous session to $127.98.


Commodities markets have been roiled because Russia is the No. 2 oil exporter and the No. 3 supplier of nickel, which is used in electric car batteries, stainless steel and other products. Russia and Ukraine also are among the biggest global sellers of wheat.


Nickel prices doubled Tuesday to more than $100,000 per metric ton, prompting the London Metal Exchange to suspend trading. The exchange said it did not expect to resume trading before Friday and was considering imposing limits on price fluctuations when it does.


A major Chinese producer of nickel and stainless steel, Tsingshan Group, faces potential losses of billions of dollars on futures contracts, The Asian Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News reported. A woman who answered the phone at Tsingshan’s headquarters hung up when told a reporter was calling.


On Tuesday, Biden announced the United States would block imports of Russian crude to punish Putin for attacking Ukraine. Biden said he acted in consultation with European allies but acknowledged they are more dependent on Russian oil and gas and might not be able to make similar moves immediately.


Biden said he hopes to limit the pain for Americans but acknowledged the ban will push up gasoline prices.


“Defending freedom is going to cost us as well,” he said.


Before the invasion of Ukraine, financial markets already were uneasy about the global outlook as the Federal Reserve and other central banks prepare to try to cool inflation by withdrawing ultra-low interest rates and other stimulus.


In currency markets, the dollar advanced to 115.91 yen from Tuesday’s 115.74 yen. The euro gained to $1.0959 from $1.0908.



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