Western countries warned that Russia’s military presence on Ukraine’s borders was growing
Wall Street indexes closed flat on Wednesday after a volatile session to trim intraday losses following the release of the minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting. The document affirmed that the central bank is ready to raise interest rates soon but did not indicate the Fed would move faster than already expected. On the data front, retail sales surged 3.8% in January versus a rise of 2.1% expected after a 1.9% decline in the previous month. As such, the S&P 500 inched up less than 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.2% lower, and the Nasdaq Composite ticked down 0.1%.
Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Thursday against signs that the Federal Reserve won’t be as aggressive as feared in tightening policy. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares gained 0.27% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.83%. Investor sentiment remains unstable after Western countries warned that Russia’s military presence on Ukraine’s borders was growing, rather than shrinking.
In Europe, equities opened mixed as investors kept a close watch on Ukraine developments, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index hovering around the flat-line in early trade. In individual stocks, Commerzbank posted a better-than-expected net profit in the fourth quarter and delivered positive guidance for 2022. The bank’s shares climbed 4.8% in early trade.
Meanwhile, the dollar extended losses nearly across the market on Wednesday despite stronger-than-expected retail sales data and mixed risk trends. The USD index failed to regain the 96.00 figure and finished around intraday lows in the 95.70 area. On Thursday, however, risk sentiment has deteriorated to push the safe-haven dollar back into positive territory. The index is now back around 96.00, adding 0.20% on the day.