European Shares May Drift Lower On Ukraine, China Woes

European stocks are likely to open lower on Monday as a showdown loomed in Ukraine and China’s financial center of Shanghai reported more than 25,000 new coronavirus infections.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western leaders, in particular President Joe Biden, to do more as Russia appointed a new military commander and looked to concentrate its attacks on the eastern part of the country.

Asian stocks fell in cautious trade, with mainland China and Hong Kong leading regional losses after authorities imposed stringent anti-disease controls to stop coronavirus outbreaks in Shanghai and other cities.

Gold eased while the dollar and Treasury yields ticked higher on fears the U.S. Federal Reserve might raise interest rates more aggressively to cool inflation.

Investors looked ahead to the ECB meeting and the release of U.S. inflation data this week for additional clues about the outlook for monetary policy.

The euro briefly flickered as high as $1.0955 before paring gains as partial results of the French presidential election put incumbent Emmanuel Macron in first place ahead of Le Pen after the first-round voting.

Oil prices fell over 2 percent in Asian trade, pressured by China lockdowns and the oil reserves release.

The Office for National Statistics releases U.K. GDP, industrial production and foreign trade data for February later in the day. The U.K. economy is forecast to grow 0.3 percent month-on-month, after rising 0.8 percent in January.

China’s consumer price inflation accelerated more than expected in March while producer price inflation eased further, official data showed earlier today.

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors dumped growth and technology shares in anticipation of higher interest rates.

The Dow rose 0.4 percent while the S&P 500 shed 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 1.3 percent.

European stocks closed higher on Friday as investors assessed the impact of new Western sanctions on Russia and the Fed’s plans to shrink its balance sheet.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.3 percent. The German DAX rallied 1.5 percent, France’s CAC 40 index gained 1.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 1.6 percent.

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