world stocks

World stocks breathe a sigh of relief

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World stock markets opened higher on Monday (Feb. 20) as investors were cheered by news of a possible summit over Ukraine between the United States and Russia. A decision on the summit will be taken after the foreign ministers of Russia and the US talk later this week.

“President Biden accepted in principle a meeting with President Putin following that engagement, again, if an invasion hasn’t happened. We are always ready for diplomacy” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Sunday (Feb. 20) evening.

The crisis in Ukraine has kept investors on edge, with Biden saying Friday Washington believes Putin has decided to carry out an attack on Ukraine “in the coming days.” Moscow denies it plans to invade its neighbor and says it is already pulling troops back from areas near the border.

Today’s news on the summit over Ukraine lifted U.S. and European stocks futures and helped Asian shares pare some losses.

The Australian stock market recouped some of the sharp losses in the previous session, with the benchmark ASX200 closing 0.2% higher, up 11.9 points to 7233.6.

The pan-European STOXX 600 opened 0.6% higher at the start of the session.

A flurry of data also lifted sentiment. The Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index-seen as a reliable gauge of overall economic health-stood at 55.8 in February 2022, representing a five-month high,  despite record rises in consumer prices, according to a preliminary report published by IHS Markit on Monday. The services PMI activity index also came in at a three-month high.

In Germany, the economy has seen the fastest monthly expansion in February in the last six months, according to a preliminary report published by IHS Markit on Monday, with the PMI composite output index rising to 56.2 points. The services PMI activity index also accelerated to a six-month high at 56.6 points.

The UK economy has experienced the fastest monthly expansion in February in the last eight months, IHS Markit said, with the PMI composite output index rising to 60.2 points.

Trading volumes may remain light amid a holiday in the United States to celebrate Presidents Day. US markets fell sharply on Friday roiled by rising tensions in eastern Europe.

Until a resolution, we hope a peaceful one, to the Ukraine conflict is found, unsurprisingly, geopolitical events will remain the main focus for investors this week.