On Friday, Stocks wobbled amidst investor sentiment regarding the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war, with energy politics and Europe’s persistent reliance on Russian gas driving the discussions.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average- an index that tracks 30 of the largest public companies- fell by 10 points or less than 0.1% after the index rallied 349 points on Thursday to close at 34,707. S&P 500 futures indicated a start 0.1% lower, and the Nasdaq was set to drop 0.2%.
Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx 600 was flat, and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.2%.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has had huge effects on both equity and commodity markets over the past month and remains a major concern for investors. The war has influenced a rise in commodity prices, adding pressure amidst high inflation and also threatening a wider economic downturn in Europe.
Meanwhile, as the two countries remain locked in conflict, there’s been several developments on the diplomatic front as meetings are held with the NATO Western military alliance, G-7 group of countries, and the European Union. Despite the fact that the EU has failed to influence the placing of sanctions on Russian energy, the U.S stepped forward and pledged to increase its exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to the EU by 15 billion cubic meters this year.
“The U.S finally seems to be getting its act together around supplying Europe with more natural gas,” said an analyst at Oanda. “They could do more still.”
As far as commodities go, oil prices dropped back with futures for West Texas Intermediate Crude- U.S benchmark- down 2.5% to below $110.
“The EU declining to sanction Russian oil has been given as the main reason, but I believe that a possible coordinated [U.S Strategic Petroleum Reserve] release and news that the Caspian CPC pipeline is resuming partial production are the most likely reasons for the fall,” said Jeffery Halley, an analyst at Oanda.