European stocks clip losses as Russia and Ukraine hold talks

Euro zone banks brace for impact of further sanctions; Iseq ends session 0.73% higher

European stocks cut almost all session losses on Monday as Russia and Ukraine held ceasefire talks, while euro zone banks slumped as they braced for impacts from tough new sanctions on Russia.

DUBLIN

The Irish index of shares ended the day 0.73 per cent higher, ending the session at 7,860. It clawed back some of its losses early in the session, when it hit a low of 7673.

Banks were mixed, with Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB ending the session higher, but AIB lost 3.2 per cent over the day. Bank of Ireland added 1.27 per cent to its share price, gaining ground as it announced it would spend €50 million buying back its own shares. The banks also plans a €50 million shareholder dividend, after the lender reported a net profit of €1.05 billion for 2021.

Smurfit Kappa shares fell 2 per cent to €44.59, while CRH, which has operations in Ukraine, clawed back some ground to close the session at €40.61, up 1.5 per cent.

LONDON

The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed down 0.4 per cent after falling as much as 1.7 per cent earlier. BP fell 4.0 per cent after deciding to exit its nearly 20 per cent stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Russia-exposed miners including Polymetal, Evraz and Petropavlovsk declined between 15.7 per cent and 56 per cent, while depository shares of Russian bank Sberbank Rossii and Gazprom dropped 74.3 per cent and 50.7 per cent, respectively.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 0.8 per cent , with nanotechnology tools and services provider Oxford Instruments surging 31.9 per cent to the top of the index on a possible $2.4 billion takeover offer from Spectris.

Associated British Foods fell 2.0 per cent after its finance chief warned that the group could be affected if the Russia-Ukraine war drives up the global price of wheat.

EUROPE

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.1 per cent lower after having fallen nearly 2 per cent in the session, as investors bought defensive and technology names.

Euro zone banks, slumped 5.7 per cent with lenders most exposed to Russia, including Austria's Raiffeisen Bank, UniCredit and Societe Generale, plunging between 9.5 per cent and 14 per cent .

France's Renault, which controls Russian carmaker Avtovaz, slipped 6.6 per cent.

Defence company Rheinmetall soared 24.8 per cent after German chancellor Olaf Scholz said the country would sharply increase defence spending to more than 2 per cent of its economic output.

French defence group Thales and Italy's Leonardo gained.

Renewable energy companies such as Vestas Wind and Orsted jumped more than 10 per cent on growing bets of a shift away from Russian gas supplies.

NEW YORK

Wall Street's main indexes headed lower on Monday, with bank stocks leading the drop. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs all shed close to 3 per cent , dragging down the S&P 500 banks index by 2.7 per cent .

Defence stocks Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and L3Harris Technologies gained between 3.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent following news that Germany would increase its military spending.

At just after 3pm Irish time the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 442.67 points, or 1.30 per cent , to 33,616.08 and the S&P 500 fell 44.39 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 4,340.26.

The Nasdaq Composite slipped 81.87 points, or 0.60 per cent, to 13,612.75, still faring better than its peers, thanks to support from Tesla and cybersecurity stocks.

Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Zscaler and CrowdStrike Holdings climbed between 1.5 per cent and 5.3 per cent .

Delta Air Lines dropped 4.8 per cent to lead losses among the airline stocks after Russia closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries in response Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist

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