Oil prices higher, stocks mixed as EU snubs Russia ban
Oil prices were higher Friday, and stock markets were mixed after European countries decided against a ban on Russian oil imports over its Ukraine invasion -- but Germany said it would drastically slash its energy purchases from Moscow.
European stocks, which had been firmly higher earlier in the session, ended the day with only modest gains, and Wall Street was mixed as analysts said investors would remain cautious over the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, now entering its second month.
"We appear to have hit a point in which the initial shock of the Ukraine invasion has passed and markets have corrected back to a point where the economic risks are deemed to be priced in," said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam.
"In the absence of any significant developments, equity markets have come to a relative standstill and could remain that way until we see some progress."
Volatility in the prices of commodities such as oil were nevertheless keeping stock markets volatile, the expert said.
"Higher commodity prices mean a further squeeze on the global economy this year and more inflation at a time when central banks are already accelerating tightening plans after falling behind the curve," Erlam said.
The United States and EU have announced a drive to wean Europe off Russian gas imports and so choke off the billions in revenues that are fuelling Moscow's ruinous war.
Europe's biggest economy, Germany, said its own Russian oil imports would be halved by June and coal deliveries stopped by the autumn of this year.
"Anxieties about the increasingly entrenched conflict in Ukraine are" holding back share price gains, said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.
Russia launched its assault on Ukraine on February 24, sending shockwaves across global markets that continue to reverberate.
The business climate in Germany worsened in March, the Ifo business confidence index showed, amid fears over soaring energy prices and deepening supply-chain woes.
The crisis in eastern Europe has forced investors to reassess their outlook for the global economy owing to an expected surge in already soaring prices, which some commentators now warn could lead to recession.
Bitcoin rose above $45,000, boosted by talk that the Kremlin could accept the world's biggest cryptocurrency in exchange for Russian gas.
- Key figures around 1645 GMT -
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $116.90 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.1 percent at $113.56 per barrel
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,483.35 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.2 percent at 14,305.76 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.03 percent at 6,553.68 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,867.73
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.1 percent at 34,667.53
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 28,149.84 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 2.5 percent at 21,404.88 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.2 percent at 3,212.24 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0985 from $1.0997 late Thursday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3188 from $1.3187
Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.30 pence from 83.39 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 122.05 yen from 122.35 yen