Wall St futures, euro rally on Biden-Putin summit hopes

  • Biden, Putin accept ‘principle’ of summit on Ukraine
  • S&P futures up 0.5%, European stocks up 0.34%
  • Euro rises 0.3% vs dollar

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – US stock index futures rallied, the euro rose and global stocks steadied on Monday as a glimmer of hope emerged for a diplomatic solution to the Russia-Ukraine standoff.

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle to hold a summit on the Ukraine crisis. read more

The Kremlin said there were no concrete plans in place for a summit, but that a call or meeting could be set up at any time.

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A summit would be held only if Russia did not first invade Ukraine, which Western countries have said it could do at any moment despite repeated denials. Russia extended military drills in Belarus due to end Sunday, and Western countries say it has continued to build up troops on the Ukraine border. read more

“Markets are taking President Putin at his word that he is not wanting a full-scale escalation, volatility is elevated but it’s still contained,” said Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM.

In a reminder of the stakes, Reuters reported Biden had prepared a package of sanctions that includes barring US financial institutions from processing transactions for major Russian banks. read more

S&P 500 stock futures rose 0.5%. Nasdaq futures gained 0.3%, having been down more than 1%. US markets are on holiday on Monday, but futures are still traded.

MSCI’s world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS) was little changed above 2-1 / 2 week lows hit on Friday.

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European stocks (.STOXX) rose 0.34% and British stocks (.FTSE) rallied 0.4%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) pared earlier losses to be off 0.3%, while Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) halved its drop to be down 0.8%.

The euro firmed 0.3% to $ 1.1355 while the US dollar index fell 0.27% to 95.866, well short of a 1-1 / 2 year high of 97.441 hit last month.

The dollar dipped to 114.91 against the yen.


Also troubling markets has been the prospect of an aggressive tightening by the US Federal Reserve as inflation runs rampant. The Fed’s favorable measure of core inflation is due out later this week and is forecast to show an annual rise of 5.1% – the fastest pace since the early 1980s.

“January inflation readings have surprised materially to the upside,” said JPMorgan chief economist Bruce Kasman.

“We now look for the Fed to hike 25bp (basis points) at each of the next nine meetings, with the policy rate approaching a neutral stance by early next year.”

At least six Fed officials are set to speak this week and markets will be hyper-sensitive to their views on a possible hike of 50 basis points in March.

Recent commentary has leant against such a drastic step and futures have scaled back the chance of a half-point rise to around 20% from well above 50% a week ago.

That helped short-term Treasuries pare a little of their losses last week, while the whole curve bull flattened as safe-haven buying pulled 10-year yields down to 1.9268%.

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German 10-year government bonds

The euro zone economic recovery rebounded sharply this month as an easing of coronavirus restrictions gave a boost to the bloc’s dominant service industry, according to IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index,

In oil markets, Brent crude gained 28 cents to $ 93.80, while US crude rose 23 cents to $ 91.30.

Oil had suffered its first weekly loss in two months last week, taking it off seven-year highs, amid tentative signs of progress on an Iran deal which could release new supply into the market.

An accord still looks distant, however, and is offset by the risk of sanctions against major oil producer Russia in the event of a Ukraine invasion.

Ministers from Arab oil-producing countries on Sunday rejected calls to pump more and said OPEC + – the alliance of OPEC countries and other suppliers including Russia – should stick to its current agreement to add 400,000 barrels of oil per day.

Gold has benefited from its status as one of the oldest safe harbors, climbing to nine-month highs of $ 1,908 an ounce, before dropping back to $ 1,896 an ounce.

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Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Lincoln Feast, Peter Graff

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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