European stocks fell Monday, as investors clung to hopes that diplomacy will prevali over an increasingly tense Russia-Ukraine crisis. U.S. equity futures also dropped on a holiday for Wall Street.
Lossses for the Stoxx Europe index SXXP, -1.30% increased to 0.9%, leaving the index at 456 by the afternoon, after a near 1.9% drop last week, which was the biggest weekly fall since late January. The German DAX DAX, -2.07% slid 1%, while the FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.39% slipped 0.3% and the French CAC 40 PX1, -2.04% fell 1.5%.
Wall Street trading will be closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday. But Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, -0.90%, S&P 500 ES00, -1.25% and Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -1.86% were all deep in the red. That was after futures gains seen Sunday and into early Monday on hopes for peace talks.
Oil prices shook off earlier losses and climbed with U.S. crude CL00, +2.54% and Brent contracts BRN00, +0.94% each up over 1%.
The losses came midmorning in Europe after a Kremlin spokesman said no concrete plans for a summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had been made, following weekend efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron to broker discussions to avert conflict in Europe.
While U.S. officials confirmed potential talks between Biden and Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that it was “premature to talk about specific plans for a summit.” He told reporters that a meeting was possible if “leaders consider it feasible.”
“The tentative summit between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the US’s Joe Biden might be one of the last chances for peace. At stake is the defense cooperation between Ukraine and Western countries and other security measures sought by Russia,” said Sebastian Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management, in a note to clients.
Investors had grown hopeful after a weekend of rising tensions, that saw Russia reneging on a pledge to pull tens of thousands of troops from neighboring Belarus, and more assertions from U.S. officials that Russia is indeed planning an attack. The U.S. and Western allies have vowed tough sanctions on Russia should that happen.
Read: What a Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean for the stock market, oil and other assets
Back in Europe, economic data showed the IHS/Markit eurozone PMI composite survey rising to a five-month high of 55.8 in February.
“At the same time, soaring energy costs and rising wages have added to inflationary pressures, resulting in the largest rise in selling prices yet recorded in a quarter of a century of survey data history,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in a note to clients.
Shares of Credit Suisse CS, -0.45% fell 1.2% after media reports emerged citing leaked information on more than 18,000 accounts managed by the bank that had allegedly been involved in human rights abuses, corruption and drug trafficking.
“Credit Suisse strongly rejects the allegations and insinuations about the bank’s purported business practices,” the Swiss bank said in a statement on Monday. “The matters presented are predominantly historical, in some cases dating back as far as the 1940s, and the accounts of these matters are based on partial, inaccurate, or selective information taken out of context.”
Technology shares were bearing the brunt of pressure on Monday, with ASML Holding ASML, -0.40% ASML, -3.44% and ASM International ASM, -2.76% each down around 3%.
Shares of BE Semiconductors BESI, -6.99% BESVF, -0.19% slumped 6% following the semiconductor assembly equipment’s results late Friday, which showed falling revenue and orders amid supply chain problems. The company proposed a 95.9% hike in its dividend for 2022 compared with 2020, of €3.33 per share.
On the gainer’s side, shares of AstraZeneca AZN, -1.85% AZN, +3.97% climbed 1.6% after the pharmaceutical giant said Phase 3 trial results for its Enhertu treatment on breast cancer patient showed meaningful survival improvement in patients compared with chemotherapy.
“Today’s historic news from DESTINY-Breast04 could reshape how breast cancer is classified and treated. A HER2-directed therapy has never-before shown a benefit in patients with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer,” said Susan Galbraith, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president for Oncology R&D.
Elsewhere, shares of Synairgen SNG, -84.11% slumped 80% after the U.K. drug-discovery company said a Phase 3 trial of its inhaled treatment for COVID-19 failed to meet its primary or key secondary efficacy endpoints.