Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Global stocks mixed after West vows more Russia sanctions

DEVELOPING… Story will be updated as new information can be verified. Updated 3 times

BEIJING — Global stock markets were mixed Friday after Western governments promised new sanctions on Russia and President Vladimir Putin tried to prop up Moscow’s sinking ruble by threatening to require Europe to use it to pay for gas exports.

London and Shanghai declined while Tokyo gained and Frankfurt was little-changed. Oil fell but stayed above $110 per barrel.

Wall Street futures declined a day after gaining as the number of Americans applying for unemployment fell to a 52-year low.

Western leaders meeting Thursday in Brussels promised more sanctions. President Joe Biden said they were meant to “increase the pain” on Putin, but the leaders released no details of possible new penalties.

Putin threatened to require European customers that rely on Russia gas supplies to pay in rubles. That would increase demand for the Russian currency, pushing up an exchange rate that has slumped under sanctions.

European leaders on Thursday rejected that possibility, potentially setting up a clash over energy supplies.

Putin’s demand is a “cunning gambit” to frustrate sanctions while “elevating uncertainty for the West,” said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.2% to 7,454.92 and the DAX in Frankfurt was off less than 0.1% at 14,267.95. The CAC in Paris fell 0.1% to 6,550.00.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.2%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 gained 1.4% and the Dow added 1%. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.9%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.2% to 3,212.24 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.1% to 28,149.84. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 2.5% to 21,404.88.

The Kospi in Seoul was little-changed at 2,729.98 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 7,406.20.

India’s Sensex lost 0.8% to 57,152.53. New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok advanced while Jakarta declined.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine sparked investor unease about the impact on prices of oil, gas, wheat and other commodities. Russia is the second-biggest crude exporter and both Moscow and Ukraine are major wheat suppliers.

Markets already were on edge about plans by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to fight surging inflation by rolling back ultra-low interest rates and other stimulus that is pushing up stock prices.

Oil prices are up more than 50% in 2022 due to worries about inflation and possible supply disruptions.

Benchmark US crude lost $2.02 to $110.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.59 on Thursday to $112.34. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, dropped $1.78 to $113.52 per barrel in London. It lost $2.57 the previous session to $119.03 a barrel.

The dollar declined to 121.54 yen from Thursday’s 122.26 yen. The euro gained to $1.1021 from $1.0997.

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