Title: European Stocks Open Mostly Lower; Biden-Xi Call Awaited
Mar 18, 2022 04:24AM ET
European stock markets opened slightly weaker on Friday but were still on track for a weekly gain as participants awaited the outcome of key talks between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
At 4:20 AM ET, the Euro Stoxx 50 was down 6 points, or 0.2%, while the broader Stoxx 600 was flat. Italy's FTSE MIB was the best performer, while France's CAC 40 underperformed, down 0.4%, a day after President Emmanuel Macron warned that the state may have to nationalize "certain energy companies"—a remark that referred to Electricite de France.
Stocks are likely to end the week higher thanks to continued diplomacy over Russia's war in Ukraine, where the positions of the two sides have grown closer since last weekend. On the ground, however, the campaign remains as destructive as ever, with Russian missiles hitting the western Ukrainian city of Lviv overnight.
At 4:20 AM ET, the euro was 0.1% lower at $1.1077, while the pound was 0.1% higher at $1.3153. The dollar was trading at 118.90 yen, up 0.3%.
A busy week for central banks comes to an end later with the Russian central bank meeting. Pressure on the rouble has eased in recent days, but it has still lost a third of its value since the invasion. President Vladimir Putin proposed a new term for central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina on Thursday after rumors of an unsuccessful resignation bid made the rounds.