Friday, Feb. 25: US and European Stocks Up amid Ukraine Crisis
US and European stocks soared on Friday as the severe conflict between Russia and Ukraine continued, with investors considering the impact of Western sanctions on the overall economy, anticipating signs that the assault will not spread beyond the two countries.
The S&P 500 index added 2.2% after Thursday’s 2.6% drop, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index climbed 1.6%, while the STOXX Europe 600 was up 3.3%, having shed 3.3% in the previous session and briefly moving into correction territory.
Monday, Feb. 28: Ruble Posts Record lows, CBR Measures Limit Losses
The Russian ruble was down to record lows on Monday, paring a third of its value, although an emergency rate hike of 20%, some capital controls, and other crucial measures introduced by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) minimized the currency’s losses.
The ruble lost 14% from Friday’s close against the US dollar to trade at 94.60, with the CBR’s 20% interest rate increase reducing the losses, while it declined 14% to 106 against the euro on Monday.
Tuesday, Mar. 1: Bitcoin Nears $45,000 as Ukraine Crisis Continues
Bitcoin advanced as much as 16% on Tuesday, extending a sharp recovery after last week’s decline as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued, and the US imposed new sanctions on Moscow, which mainly targeted its central bank.
Bitcoin was last trading at a 6% gain to $44,219, closing in on the $45,000 level, while the Ether added 5.4% to $2,980 after hitting above $3,000 earlier in the session.
Wednesday, Mar. 2: Oil Prices Hit New Highs on Russian Export Worries
Oil prices rose past $110 per barrel, while European natural gas prices rose to a new all-time high on Wednesday, as markets grew concerned that severe Western sanctions will weigh on Russia’s oil exports.
Global benchmark Brent crude surged almost 9% to $113 per barrel, the highest since 2014, and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures added 4.9% to $108 per barrel, while the wholesale natural gas price in Europe climbed 60% to a record high of €194 ($215) per megawatt-hour.
Thursday, Mar. 3: Fitch, Moody’s Downgrade Russia’s Rating to Junk
Russia’s credit rating has been downgraded to “junk” status by Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service, as mounting Western sanctions in Moscow raised uncertainty over its ability to service debt and could drag its economy down.
The decision of the two rating agencies followed FTSE Russell’s and MSCI’s move to pull Russian stocks from their indexes, with MSCI saying the country’s stock market had become uninvestable due to its invasion of Ukraine, which led to the severe sanctions.
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