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European markets pull back amid doubts over the latest Russian pledges over Ukraine

European markets pull back amid doubts over the latest Russian pledges over Ukraine

March 31, 2022: -European stocks retreated on Wednesday following the latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine to find a solution to the conflict.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.5% by around noon London time, with travel and leisure stocks shedding 2.4% to lead losses, while oil and gas stocks gained 2.5%.

In terms of individual share price movement, British education and publishing company Pearson plunged more than 10% after U.S. investment firm Apollo dropped its takeover bid.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, Swedish mining company Boliden gained 4.9%.

On Tuesday, investor sentiment was boosted following negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials in Turkey. Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Moscow had decided to “drastically” cut back its military activity near Ukraine’s capital.

Alexander Fomin, who spoke following the talks in Istanbul, said Russia would slow its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv for peace talks to progress. Russia previously claimed that it would reduce military operations in other parts of Ukraine but then continued its advance.

Growing hope for a cease-fire appeared to boost investor sentiment Tuesday, as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 200 points or 0.6%. S&P 500 futures also climbed 0.6%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.7%. Meanwhile, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which spiked on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fell more than 4% to $100 per barrel.

Doubts have set in over the pledge, however. While the Russian military has begun moving some of its troops in Ukraine away from areas around Kyiv to positions elsewhere in Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warned that troop movements do not amount to a retreat.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors watched for developments surrounding the war in Ukraine. Stateside, futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street as traders keep tabs on many vital economic reports while monitoring the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes.

On Tuesday, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed 11.3 million job openings, higher than the 11.1 million expected. The ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Guy Miller, chief market strategist and head of macroeconomics at Zurich Insurance, told CNBC that markets are following the “typical dynamic during wartime despite recent volatility.”

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European markets pull back amid doubts over the latest Russian pledges over Ukraine