- US stock futures fell Tuesday ahead of comments from Fed Vice President Lael Brainard later in the day.
- Reports of crimes against civilians in Ukraine increased pressure on Western leaders to sanction Russia.
- Oil prices rose as the US and EU considered new sanctions on Russian energy exports.
Global equities fell on Tuesday, amid concerns over persistent inflation and the economic fallout from further sanctions against Russia as the West grapples with the human cost of the war in Ukraine.
S&P 500 futures fell 0.02% and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat, while Dow Jones futures fell 0.01%, suggesting a very muted start to trading later. the
Led by a 27% surge in Twitter after Elon Musk announced a majority stake in the company, it was up 2% on Monday.
Investors could get fresh insight into the Federal Reserve’s outlook for the economy and interest rates when Vice Chair Lael Brainaird speaks later in the day, and again on Wednesday with the release of minutes from the central bank’s last monetary policy meeting.
“A handful of Fed policymakers are due to speak today and market participants will continue to pay close attention to what they say as the odds of a 50 basis point hike next month continue to fluctuate. Comments from new vice chairman Brainard are most interesting, due early afternoon,” wrote Michael Brown, Caxton’s head of market insights.
A series of surveys of business activity will be released on Tuesday, including a measure of US service sector activity, which is expected to have picked up in March, although rising prices are likely to have dampened some growth.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, reports of civilian killings by Russian troops withdrawing from Bucha outside Kyiv on Monday could be the catalyst for further sanctions from the US and its EU partners, analysts said.
“Reports of Russian atrocities in formerly occupied Ukrainian territories have prompted renewed calls for sanctions from Western allies. Crucially, the prospect of Russia’s energy sector falling into the sanctions crosshairs is becoming a more realistic possibility, pushing crude futures up +3.01% to $107.53 a barrel later this week the worst week in almost two years,” said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc would seek to press ahead with further sanctions against Russia as a matter of urgency. French President Emmanuel Macron echoed Borrell’s comments.
“What happened in Bucha requires a new round of sanctions,” before noting that the EU will discuss extending sanctions to Russian energy exports,” Macron said on Monday.
European equities fell mostly as falls in banks and commodity stocks erased gains in the travel, leisure and retail sectors, sending the Stoxx 600 down 0.2% on the day.
Oil prices rose on the prospect of further pressure on global supply if Russia’s exports fall under sanctions. Brent crude futures were up 0.4% on Tuesday at $108.00 a barrel after rising to a session high of $109.90, while West Texas Intermediate was up 0.6% to $103.88 traded per barrel.
Elsewhere, Asian stocks soared to highs last seen in February, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rising 0.18% to $2,978.67 on Tuesday. Chinese stock markets are closed for a national holiday.
Finally, despite Monday’s news that the UK would accept stablecoins for payments, cryptocurrencies remained relatively flat. Bitcoin is up 1.4% to $46,570, while Ethereum is up 1.2% to $3,515.
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