European markets head for mixed open amid Ukraine-Russia tensions

LONDON — European stocks are set to open in mixed territory on Thursday as tensions remain high over the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Britain’s FTSE index is expected to open 26 points higher at 7,353, Germany’s DAX 27 points lower at 13,923, France’s CAC 40 27 points higher at 13,923 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 51 points higher at 24. 400, according to data from IG.

The mixed open for European stocks comes amid heightened fears for Ukraine’s future with more reports of explosions in the capital Kyiv overnight.

Earlier this week, a huge column of Russian military vehicles was heading towards the capital, raising fears that Russia could soon launch a full-scale attack on the city.

Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, came under heavy shelling on Wednesday, as the mayor of Kherson said Russian forces had taken control of the key port city in southern Ukraine. If confirmed, it marks a military victory for Russia.

Russia’s week-long invasion has been denounced by the United Nations in a historic vote and dozens of countries have called on Moscow to be questioned for possible war crimes.

Asia-Pacific stocks were broadly higher in Thursday trading after US stocks rebounded on Wednesday, although US stock index futures were slightly lower during overnight trading.

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Oil prices, however, continued to rise after a price spike in recent days. In the morning trading hours in Asia, international benchmark Brent crude futures jumped 3.09% to $116.42 a barrel, after hitting $118.22 a barrel earlier. U.S. crude futures also climbed 2.43% to $113.29 a barrel.

OPEC and its allies decided on Wednesday to keep production stable despite the recent dramatic surge in oil prices.

Revenues come from Merck, Telecom Italia, Prudential and Aviva. Data releases include the Eurozone unemployment rate and producer prices for January.

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– CNBC’s Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.

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