European stocks have opened sharply lower on Monday, with major losses recorded across banks as countries ramp up sanctions against Russia.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1.7% in early morning action, while Germany’s DAX was down more than 3%. France’s CAC was also down, falling nearly 2.5% amid investor anxiety over how bad an impact the Russia-Ukraine war could have on markets.
The negative action was also seen in the UK, with Britain’s FTSE 100 plunging more than 1.5%.
The Russian market remained closed on Monday, even as the Bank of Russia announced an interest rate hike to 20% from 9.5%.
Wall Street is also likely to open red on Monday after the futures bounced lower overnight Sunday. At the moment, the S&P 500 futures, Dow futures and Nasdaq futures are all more than 1.3% down.
Banks and companies exposed to Russia fall
Steel manufacturer and mining giant EVRAZ plc has plunged over 25%. The London Stock Exchange (LSE)-listed company has its biggest operations in Russia and Ukraine.
Other big losers are mainly banks, with France’s Societe Generale down 11%, Italy’s UniCredit S.p.A. -9%, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank also down 9%.
At the top of the gainers’ list are defense stocks where major companies are seeing an uptick in buy pressure. The Pan-European Stoxx 600 index has the shares of BAE Systems up 15%,Thales SA +9% and thyssenkrupp AG +8%.
Oil and gold up
Across the markets, oil prices were up more than 5% to close in on the $100 a barrel level.
Meanwhile, gold bounced off Friday’s dip to trade above $1,900 per ounce, but Bitcoin was down 2.2% to $38,260 after easing off highs of $39,850.
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