European stocks open stronger after volatile week
European stocks were higher on Monday as investors continued to monitor developments between Russia and Ukraine and oil hit its highest price in seven years.
The London benchmark was up 3.37 points, or 0.04%, at midday on Monday. The blue-chip index had gained as much as 0.8% in early dealings.
Energy giants BP (BP.L) and Shell (RDSB.L) continue to benefit from Brent crude oil (BZ=F) at levels above $90 a barrel — the highest in seven years due to supply constraints and geopolitical tensions.
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Vodafone (VOD.L) was the top FTSE 100 gainer, up 2.7% after the disclosure of stake building by activist investor Cevian Capital.
Europe’s largest activist fund is keen for Vodafone to be more aggressive in driving consolidation with mobile operators in some of the weaker and more unwieldy telecoms markets, including Spain, Italy and the UK.
Richard Hunter of Interactive Investor said stocks are delicately poised: “Investors are currently grappling with valuation metrics following a strong run over recent years for the main indices, with higher rates not only increasing borrowing costs for companies but also discounting the value of future profits.
“At the same time, the latest non-farm payrolls report at the end of the week is expected to show a weaker reading given the rise of the variant in December and a bout of adverse weather, with the current forecast being that around 150000 jobs will have been added.
S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were up slightly by 0.02%, Dow futures (YM=F) gained a modest 0.01%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were 0.13% higher as trade began in Europe.
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Asian markets finished mixed. The Hang Seng (^HSI) gained 1.07% and the Nikkei 225(^N225) rose 1.07%. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) lost 0.97%.
JP Morgan (JPM) has warned that Brent could rise to $125 per barrel as inflationary pressures in the global economy continue.