Stocks drop, oil tops $100 as Russia invades Ukraine

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices topped $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, stock markets tumbled and the ruble hit a record low on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. Read more

The markets offered all the expected reactions. European stock markets fell about 4% (.FTEU3) Amid frenzied selling, while prices of top-rated government bonds, the dollar, Swiss franc, Japanese yen and gold rose, traders sought safety. / frx / joules

Putin said he authorized what he called a special military operation, even though Western governments and Ukraine described it as an all-out invasion. Read more

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US President Joe Biden said “severe sanctions” would be imposed on Russia after the attacks, and European leaders pledged to freeze assets and shut Russian banks out of their financial markets. Read more

The Russian and Ukrainian markets were in free fall.

The ruble weakened nearly 7% to an unprecedented 86.98 per dollar, and there was a record 30% drop in the Moscow Stock Exchange when it opened after an initial suspension, while Ukraine was forced to suspend trading in its currency as its bonds collapsed violently.

“No one expected this and predicting Putin’s next move will be the main focus in the coming days,” said Hans Petersen, global head of asset allocation at SEB Investment Management.

“But this is happening at a very strong stage of the business cycle,” he added, noting that now higher energy and commodity prices are also critical.

The defeat of stocks began with a 2.6% decline for the pan-Asian indices (.MIAP00000PUS.). European STOXX 600 Index (.stoxx) It then fell 3.9% – its lowest since May 2021 and more than 10% away from its record high in January.

German DAX Index (.GDAXI) And it fell 4.7 percent, to bear the brunt of the selling due to the heavy dependence on Russian energy supplies and the amounts sold by its companies to Russia.

Rise in oil prices helped limit losses in the UK’s heavy FTSE 100 commodity index (.FTSE)although it is still down 2.3% and futures markets pointed to similar declines on Wall Street later.

A trader works at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Tim Reichert

S&P 500 e-minis are down more than 2% and Nasdaq futures are down 2.9% in pre-market trading, which if reversed after the market opens, will confirm that the technology-focused index has descended into a so-called “bear” market.

“In the past, when you’ve had geopolitical turmoil, you tend to have very volatile periods in the markets and then normalize, but it’s hard to assess when we will get that,” said Justin Onwikowsi, LGIM Portfolio Manager.

The ruble collapses as Russia launches its invasion of Kiev

conflict cost

In the major currency markets, the dollar rose 0.5% against a basket of other major currencies. Almost every asset class has seen a sharp increase in volatility amid the deepening crisis. The Cboe Volatility Index, known as a Wall Street fear gauge, has risen more than 55% over the past nine days. (.VIX)

Fears that Russia is now putting pressure on global energy markets has sent Brent crude futures up more than 8% above $100 a barrel for the first time since September 2014. Nearly 40% of the EU’s natural gas and 26% of its crude comes from Russia .

With major crop producers in both Ukraine and Russia, wheat and corn prices are up more than 5%, while gold has jumped more than 1.7% to its highest since early January 2021.

This dive in search of safety also saw yields of German AAA-rated government bonds fall by 10 basis points to 1.119%, the lowest in three weeks. . The US benchmark 10-year yield has also fallen sharply, falling to 1.85% from its US close of 1.977%.

Investors are also grappling with the possibility of an imminent policy tightening by the US Federal Reserve to combat rising inflation. The question now is whether the conflict will give central bankers a reason to delay those moves or whether the additional rise in energy prices can motivate them.

While expectations for a sharp 50 basis point hike at the Fed’s March meeting have cooled, Fed fund futures continue to point to at least six rate hikes this year. FEDWATCH

“Markets are now pricing more appropriately at the risk of something horrific,” said Rob Carnell, head of Asia Pacific Research at ING.

Russian stocks incur greater losses than those of GFC and Covid
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Additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Angus McSwan and Bernadette Baum

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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