Traders are holding their breath this morning ahead of what’s expected to be a torrid day on the markets.
An escalation of sanctions over the weekend – coupled with Vladimir Putin’s chilling nuclear threat – has fuelled uncertainty over how the invasion of Ukraine will progress.
The rouble has plunged to a fresh record low against the dollar, while the opening of the Moscow Exchange has been delayed.
While there’s been a mixed performance for Asian stocks overnight, the FTSE 100 and European stocks look set to plunge at the open.
Wai Ho Leong, an analyst at Modular Asset Management, said “A terrible weekend… hard to make any decisions when the conflict in Ukraine is re-intensifying.”
5 things to start your day
1) BP abandons stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft FTSE 100 company says Ukraine war caused it to ‘fundamentally rethink’ 19.75pc shareholding
2) Sanctions spark Russia bank run fears as country braces for ‘free fall’ in rouble Ban from Swift payments network set to send currency tumbling
3) The West has finally taken the gloves off against Putin, and redeemed our honour Ukraine’s valiant resistance has provoked a moral scramble to be seen and counted in the melee
4) Delays at UK ports double as Brexit red tape slows customs Economists have warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to prolong the disruptions
5) Aeroflot cancels all flights to European destinations after EU bans Russian jets The European Commission announced a block across the entire 27-country bloc on Russian-owned aircraft from entering the bloc’s airspace or landing at their airports on Sunday
What happened overnight
Shares were mixed in Asia but US and European futures were sharply lower as President Vladimir Putin escalated tensions by ordering that Russian nuclear forces be put on high alert.
US futures fell, with the contract for the S&P 500 down 2.5pc and that for the Dow industrials 1.6pc lower. The future for Germany’s DAX dropped 3.2pc and the future for the FTSE 100 lost 1.3pc.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index recovered from earlier losses to edge 0.1pc higher. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.8pc, the Shanghai Composite index was 0.1pc lower, while in Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7pc.
Coming up today
Corporate: BB Healthcare Trust, Bunzl, RHI Magnesita (full-year results); Hays (interim results); Associated British Foods (trading update)
Economics: Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index (US)