By Peter Nurse
Investing.com — European stock markets traded higher Wednesday, continuing the previous session’s positive tone after Russia announced it had pulled some troops back from the Ukraine border.
The move raised hopes that armed conflict in the region can be avoided.
Global stock markets surged on Tuesday, with both the DAX and the CAC 40 climbing approximately 2%, as the Russian defense ministry published footage to show it was returning some troops to base after exercises.
The gains are more subdued Wednesday, with General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s chief, warning that the military alliance has so far “not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side”, while hours after Moscow’s announcement, Ukraine said the online networks of its defense ministry and two banks were overwhelmed by a cyber attack.
Elsewhere, the European earnings season continued Wednesday, with Heineken (AS:HEIN) stock up 0.5% after the world’s second largest brewer in the world reported higher earnings than expected in 2021, helped by cost savings and by consumers shifting to more expensive beers.
Ahold (AS:AD) stock slumped 4.4% after the Dutch supermarket retailer warned that its underlying earnings would return to historical levels in 2022 even after it reported a strong fourth quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic drove robust online sales.
FDJ (PA:FDJ) stock rose 6.6% after the French lottery company posted strong full-year earnings and lifted its forward guidance.
Turning to economic data, U.K. CPI fell slightly on the month in January, down 0.1%, but the annual figure remained elevated at 5.5%, suggesting pressure will remain on the Bank of England to lift interest rates in the months ahead.
Europe sees the release of industrial production data for December, but the focus is likely to be on the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, where policy makers in all likelihood debated how quickly it should tighten monetary policy in the months after March.
Oil prices rose Wednesday, regaining some ground after the previous session’s sharp losses on the easing of tensions on the Ukraine border.
Elsewhere, crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, released on Tuesday, showed a draw of just over 1 million barrels for last week. Investors now await crude oil supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, due later in the day.
European Stocks Higher on Russian Troop Withdrawal; Heineken Shines
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