By Peter Nurse
Investing.com -- European stock markets traded higher Monday, boosted by fresh hopes for a diplomatic solution to the tense situation on the Ukraine border.
News of a potential summit on Ukraine between President Joe Biden and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has buoyed markets which have been perturbed by the possibility of a Russian invasion, given its massive troop buildup as well as its extended military drills in neighboring Belarus.
The two leaders have agreed in principle to a summit, French President Emmanuel Macron, who proposed the idea, said in a statement Monday, while the EU foreign ministers will also discuss the situation.
That said, gains are limited Monday with many details about the proposed summit uncertain and its likely success very much up in the air. Additionally, there will be no lead from the U.S., given its markets are on holiday.
Back in Europe, producer prices in Germany rose by 2.2% in January, a hefty leap of 25% on the year, more than expected and an indication of the pressures the European Central Bank is under to combat inflation in the bloc.
Investors will also focus on the release of the German manufacturing PMI data for February, given the importance of this sector in driving growth in the region. The PMI data from France, the Eurozone’s second largest economy, came in ahead of expectations, both in the manufacturing and services sectors.
In the corporate sector, Credit Suisse (SIX: CSGN ) stock fell 0.6% after the leak over the weekend of data on thousands of suspect accounts held at the bank in previous decades. The Swiss lender rejected any allegations of wrongdoing, while FINMA, the country’s banking supervisor, said it has been in contact with the bank.
Telecom Italia (MI: TLIT ) stock fell 0.4% after the company dismissed as "unfounded and harmful" a Sunday newspaper report concerning financial targets in a plan by new Chief Executive Pietro Labriola.
On a more positive note, Faurecia (PA: EPED ) stock rose 0.7% after the French car parts group forecast a rise in full-year sales, as it expects semiconductor shortages to ease from the second half of the year.
Oil prices stabilized Monday as traders attempted to balance the potential for a summit between the leaders of Russia and the U.S. to defuse the continued tensions on the Ukraine border with the prospects of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, increasing the possibility of the Persian Gulf country’s crude exports returning to the global markets.
By 3:30 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $90.30 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.2% to $91.56. Both contracts last week registered their first losing week in nine, despite hitting their highest levels for over seven years earlier in the week.
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