FTSE 100, European and US exchanges rise after heavy selling as investors relax about economic hit from invasion of Ukraine
Last modified on Fri 25 Feb 2022 13.07 EST
Global markets staged a major recovery on Friday in a sign that traders believed the sanctions imposed on Russia were unlikely to significantly affect western economies.
The FTSE 100 closed up 3.9%, rebounding an almost 4% drop the previous day after Moscow invaded Ukraine, but still ending the week in the red.
Similar rises were seen on France and Germany’s exchanges, while the Russian stock market, which fell 33% on Thursday, ended Friday up 20%.
The FTSE 250 index ticked up by 3.2% and, in the US, the benchmark S&P 500 gained in early trading.
The FTSE 100’s rebound was propelled by investors’ response to sanctions imposed on Russia, which were less stringent than many expected, and an influx of bargain-hunters buying the dip.
“It’s quite an impressive rebound,” said Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Global Investors. “The market is responding to the idea that sanctions at this stage are not interrupting energy supply.”
Prices for a barrel of Brent crude – the international benchmark for oil – dropped below $94 on Friday from highs on Thursday of over $101, making many investors fear a prolonged rise in energy prices.
Meanwhile, UK petrol prices on Thursday hit a record high of almost 150p a litre, with further rises expected.
The average price of unleaded petrol climbed to 149.67p and diesel rose to 153.05p on Thursday, according to RAC data from roughly 7,500 UK petrol forecourts – both record highs.
The petrol price jump is a further burden for the UK public amid an already crushing cost of living crisis, with inflation at 5.5% in January – its highest rate for almost 30 years.
“Sadly, more increases are on the way,” said Simon Williams, RAC’s fuel spokesperson, who expects the price to vault 150p a litre “early next week”.
“This is the worst possible combination for drivers as it will push already rising prices higher still and worsen the cost of living crisis,” Williams said.
Despite Friday’s gains, market volatility looks set to thunder on, Shah said, driven by uncertainty about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s very difficult with any geopolitical crisis, but particularly with this one, to understand how it’s going to play out or how long it’s going to go on for,” she said.
“So for anyone to call yesterday the bottom, I think it’s a bit premature.”
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