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European stocks turned positive after opening at the flatline as markets assess the Ukraine war and predictions from the World Bank and IMF.
European stocks hinted at positive growth on Wednesday as investors continue to monitor developments in Ukraine. The region’s stocks opened around the flatline today on the heels of the IMF’s latest global economic forecasts. Investors are also keeping a close eye on what the forecasts portend, and continue to assess the optics.
As it stands with European stocks, the Stoxx 600 index was initially flat but eventually began trading 0.3% higher. Also, the majority of its sectors are trading in green.
Optics of Some European Stocks
Shares of lager beer-producing giant Heineken were up 3.6% following a higher-than-expected beer sales report for the first quarter. Furthermore, leading semiconductor company ASML also experienced a 1.6% rise in stock after its earnings for the first quarter edged out expectations.
However, the shares of Zurich-based global banking giant and financial services platform Credit Suisse Group were down 2.5%. This came about after the Swiss bank said it is anticipating a loss in first-quarter earnings following increased legal provisions. According to Credit Suisse, provisions relating to a number of previously disclosed legal matters over a decade old in the making, would increase. Furthermore, the leading bank put this figure at between 600 million Swiss francs ($631 million) and 700 million francs. Without offering any additional specifics, Credit Suisse put out a statement that read in part:
“The Group will announce its earnings for the first quarter of 2022 on Wednesday, April 27th, and would expect to report a loss as a consequence of this increase in reserves.”
Elsewhere in Europe, recent data released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) showed a continuous decline in new car registrations. For the month of March, there was a decline of approximately 20%.
European markets continue to take cues from the ongoing war in Ukraine as the conflict heats up. According to Jari Stehn, chief European economist at Goldman Sachs:
“The euro area economy is slowing pretty rapidly because you have much higher inflation that’s beginning to weigh on incomes and on consumption, and we also think that higher energy prices are weighing on producers.”
In addition, Stehn also stated that “on top of that, you have a whole bunch of supply chain issues.”
The military strife between the Eastern European country and its invading neighbor Russia is now in its second phase. Violent clashes have already begun in the eastern part (Donbas) of the already war-torn Ukraine. Twenty-four hours ago, Ukrainian’s eastern city of Kreminna fell to marauding Russian forces, according to its regional governor. Kreminna is now the first captured city in the “second” phase of the war.
The new gloomy IMF and World Bank forecast also weigh heavy on the minds of investors. On Monday, the World Bank lowered its global growth forecast for 2022 from 4.1% to 3.2%, citing the war as a major factor.