European stocks set to extend the sell-off

(RTTNews) – European stocks are set to open sharply lower on Monday as the Russia-Ukraine conflict showed no signs of cooling, triggering Europe’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis since World War II.

Commodities posted more torrid price gains, oil briefly touched $139 a barrel and the euro extended its slide, reaching parity with the Swiss franc, after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the United States and its European allies were considering banning imports of Russian oil.

The dollar continued its recent rally as US 10-year yields were down 1.69%, having already fallen 23 basis points last week.

Inflation fears sparked a rush into safe-haven assets, with gold hitting the $2,000 level for the first time in a year and a half.

Traders expect a slower pace of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year, although a hike in March is still seen as a done deal.

Asian markets fell as Russia and Ukraine hold a third round of end-of-hostilities talks today. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his campaign in Ukraine will not end until Kiev stops fighting.

The United States asked its citizens to leave Russia immediately after the suspension of Visa and Mastercard operations in Russia.

In economic releases, investors will be watching inflation numbers from China and the United States closely this week for other clues related to policy tightening.

China has set an ambitious economic growth target for the year, putting renewed emphasis on fiscal stimulus.

Chinese exports rose more than expected from January to February, figures from the General Administration of Customs showed earlier in the day.

Exports increased by 16.3% on an annual basis, higher than the expected growth of 15.0%. At the same time, imports grew by 15.5%, but slower than economists’ forecast of +16.5%.

U.S. stocks fell on Friday as a surge in commodity prices amid fears of supply disruptions overshadowed positive U.S. jobs data for February.

Data showed non-farm payroll employment increased by 678,000 jobs in February after an increase of an upwardly revised 481,000 jobs in January.

The jobless rate fell to 3.8% in February from 4.0% in January, but wage growth slowed slightly in the month.

The Dow Jones fell half a percent, the S&P 500 slipped 0.8% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.7%.

European stocks plunged on Friday to close near their lowest level in a year after Russian forces seized control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen warned. said the bloc was ready to hit Russia with more sanctions.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 3.6%. Germany’s DAX plunged 4.4%, France’s CAC 40 index fell 5% and Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 3.5%.

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