By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets traded higher Tuesday with the focus on the start of another round of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in Turkey.
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are meeting in Istanbul for face-to-face talks, the first direct talks between the two sides in more than two weeks, with the conflict now in its second month.
The war has exacted a heavy toll with a total 2,975 civilian casualties recorded since the conflict began, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Still, despite the stock market gains, there appears little hope of a breakthrough, with Kyiv seeking a ceasefire without compromising on territory or sovereignty while Russia continues to make territorial demands, including Crimea, which Moscow seized and annexed in 2014.
The United States and its allies plan to up the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin by levying new sanctions on more sectors of Russia's economy that are critical to sustaining its invasion of Ukraine, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Tuesday.
The existing sanctions are not only having an impact on the Russian economy, as the forward-looking GfK German consumer climate index fell to -15.5 for April, down from a revised -8.5 the previous month, as the war in Ukraine and rising commodity prices weighed on sentiment.
Later in the session, the Bank of England is set to publish its latest Quarterly Bulletin , which will be studied carefully as the U.K. central bank continues to increase interest rates.
In corporate news, Barclays (LON: BARC ) stock fell 4.5% after one of the U.K. bank’s top investors offloaded stock roughly equivalent to a 3% stake in the lender.
SSE (LON: SSE ) stock rose 0.7% after the U.K. energy provider boosted its full-year earnings guidance, helped by soaring gas prices as a result of the war in Ukraine.
Sanofi (PA: SASY ) (NASDAQ: SNY ) stock fell 1.4% despite the French healthcare group raising its peak sales target for eczema-treatment product Dupixent, suffering from its lack of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Oil prices rebounded Tuesday following reports that Saudi Aramco (SE: 2222 ), the world’s largest oil exporter, will likely boost pricing of its main crude variety to a record, suggesting a bullish outlook.
Crude prices had slumped Monday on fears that a surge in COVID-19 cases in China will hit demand from the world’s top crude importer, with the city of Shanghai remaining under a two-stage, nine-day lockdown.
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