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European Shares Poised For Weak Start

asianmarket 021219 18mar22 lt

European stocks may drift lower at open on Friday as investors keep a wary eye on the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Worries about a surge in Covid-19 cases in the WHO's Western Pacific region, which includes South Korea and China, may also weigh on investor sentiment.

Asian markets traded mixed as Russia's relentless assault continued and investors awaited the outcome of a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and China's President Xi Jinping for directional cues.

Biden will warn of "costs" if China backs Russia, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may threaten to use nuclear weapons if the conflict drags on, according to a new assessment by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency.

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to end Russia's Most Favored Nation status, leading the way to sharply higher tariffs on Russian goods.

Ratings agency S&P Global cut Russia's credit rating deeper into junk territory, saying its debt is "highly vulnerable to nonpayment.

The U.S. dollar was eying its first weekly loss in six weeks while gold was on course for its worst week since late November.

Oil extended its rally after seeing the biggest daily surge in 16 months the previous day as the Kremlin cast doubt on the progress of peace talks with Ukraine.

Foreign trade data from the Euro area is due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

Across the Atlantic, reports on existing home sales and leading economic indicators may attract attention.

Earlier today, the Bank of Japan maintained its monetary policy stimulus, as widely expected.

U.S. stocks ended firmly in positive territory overnight as Russia completed a closely-watched bond payment and the latest jobless claims, industrial production and housing starts data painted a positive picture of the economy.

The Dow and the S&P 500 climbed around 1.2 percent each while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 1.3 percent.

European stocks closed mostly higher on Thursday as investors reacted to the Fed and BoE interest-rate decisions and mixed signals on peace talks to end the conflict in Ukraine.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose half a percent. The German DAX dropped 0.4 percent, while France's CAC 40 index rose 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 1.3 percent.

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