European Stocks Higher on Russian Troop Withdrawal; Heineken Shines By

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By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded higher Wednesday, continuing the previous session’s positive tone after Russia announced it had pulled some troops back from the Ukraine border.

The move raised hopes that armed conflict in the region can be avoided.

By 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the German traded 0.3% higher, the French climbed 0.4% and the UK’s rose 0.1%.

Global stock markets surged on Tuesday, with both the DAX and the CAC 40 climbing approximately 2%, as the Russian defense ministry published footage to show it was returning some troops to base after exercises.

The gains are more subdued Wednesday, with General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s chief, warning that the military alliance has so far “not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side”, while hours after Moscow’s announcement, Ukraine said the online networks of its defense ministry and two banks were overwhelmed by a cyber attack.

Elsewhere, the European earnings season continued Wednesday, with Heineken (AS 🙂 stock up 0.5% after the world’s second largest brewer in the world reported higher earnings than expected in 2021, helped by cost savings and by consumers shifting to more expensive beers.

Ahold (AS 🙂 stock slumped 4.4% after the Dutch supermarket retailer warned that its underlying earnings would return to historical levels in 2022 even after it reported a strong fourth quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic drove robust online sales.

FDJ (PA 🙂 stock rose 6.6% after the French lottery company posted strong full-year earnings and lifted its forward guidance.

Turning to economic data, UK fell slightly on the month in January, down 0.1%, but the annual figure remained elevated at 5.5%, suggesting pressure will remain on the Bank of England to raise interest rates in the months ahead.

Europe sees the release of data for December, but the focus is likely to be on the from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, where policy makers in all likelihood debated how quickly it should tighten monetary policy in the months after March.

Oil prices rose Wednesday, regaining some ground after the previous session’s sharp losses on the easing of tensions on the Ukraine border.

Elsewhere, crude oil supply data from the, released on Tuesday, showed a draw of just over 1 million barrels for last week. Investors now await crude oil supply data from the US, due later in the day.

By 3:40 AM ET, futures traded 1.1% higher at $ 93.04 a barrel, while the contract rose 1.1% to $ 94.31. Both benchmarks fell over 3% on Tuesday, the biggest one-day loss this year.

Additionally, it rose 0.1% to $ 1,858.40 / oz, while traded 0.3% higher at 1.1391.

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