Markets nervous about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict


Markets closed on fears of renewed hostilities between Ukraine and Russia. (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

Traders have been trying to decide how best to respond to growing tensions between Russia and Ukrainefluctuations and uncertainty remain high.

Gold’s safe haven hit a six-month high, with an ounce costing $1,900 (£1,396). One suggestion has been that any sanctions against Russia could include a ban on Russian companies using US dollars.

Oil rose 1.6% to $95 for Brent Crude oil a barrel – although it remains off recent highs from last week.

But the leading FTSE 100 index managed to weather the wave intact, closing down 29.29 points, or 0.39%, at 7484.33.

For comparison, the French Cac 40 lost 2% and the German Dax 30 fell 2.1%.

The pound sterling barely moved and the pound was worth 1.135 euros and 1.361 dollars at the close of the markets.

Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said: “Brent crude surged above $95 a barrel amid concerns over Russian plans after he said talks of a summit were premature.

“The scene is set for another volatile week as investors consider which stocks could be affected if Russia escalates tensions by sending troops into areas held by Russian-backed separatists.”

Individual companies have felt the force of the threat of war, with mining giants facing Russia suffering the hardest.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdownnoted: “Worries are mounting that wide-ranging sanctions would hit the companies and those worries are unlikely to subside, with the Kremlin saying there are no concrete plans for a summit in place yet.

Polymetal International closed 99p at 1,070.5p – a fall of 8.47%; and Evraz down 16.2p to 267p – a fall of 5.72%.

In corporate news, AstraZeneca has helped the FTSE 100 avoid harsher falls as bosses give a positive update on its breast cancer drug Enhertu with improved survival rates shown in stage trials advanced.

Shares closed 349p at 9,150p.

Elsewhere, Edinburgh-based John Menzies is set to be sold to a Kuwaiti company after bosses said they plan to accept a renewed offer of nearly £560million.

The board said NAS, a subsidiary of Agility Public Warehousing, had raised its bid for the company by around £90m. Shares closed down 3p at 580p.

Bosses at warehouse and supply chain specialist Clipper Logistics have also said they will accept a bid for the business from US rival GXO Logistics, valuing the business at £943million.

Shares closed up 103p, or 13.3%, at 880p.

Finsbury Foods, the maker of Weight Watchers-branded cakes, said it saw record sales in the last six months of the year but warned prices were rising for customers.

Revenue reached £166.5m, up 9% on the previous year, but the company faced higher costs, pushing pre-tax profits down by £7.4m. pounds to £5.7 million.

The shares closed down 3p at 85.5p.

And Made.com revealed that its chief executive left the company to take care of his family. Philippe Chainieux has announced that he will step down with immediate effect and be replaced by managing director Nicola Thompson.

Investors took fright, with shares closing down 7.9p to 73.1p.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were AstraZeneca up 349p at 9,150p; Hargreaves Lansdown up 20.5p at 1,298p; Fresnillo up 11p at 696.8p; Sage up 10.6p to 679.2p and B&M up 8.6p to 592.2p.

Polymetal International’s biggest fallers fell 99p to 1,070.5p; Evraz down 16.2p to 267p; Coca Cola HBC down 110p down 2,315p; Scottish Mortgages fell 46p to 969p and Ashtead fell 150p to 4,628p.

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