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European stocks slipped on Monday, led by a sell-off in defence shares, and oil prices were unsteady after an attempted mutiny in Russia raised investors’ doubts over supply from one of the world’s top producers.
Europe’s region-wide Stoxx 600 fell 0.4 per cent, while France’s Cac 40 and London’s FTSE 100 were down 0.5 per cent. European defence groups dropped heavily. Italian defence group Leonardo, Sweden’s Saab and Germany’s Rheinmetall all lost just over 5 per cent in early trade.
The price of crude oil swung between gains and losses as investors tried to price the impact of the shortlived armed uprising by Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner paramilitary forces over the weekend.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose as much as 0.8 per cent to $74.41 a barrel before giving up most of its gains. It was last trading up 0.1 per cent. The US marker West Texas Intermediate added 0.3 per cent to $69.35 a barrel.
Traders said the shortlived mutiny raised serious questions over the outlook for Putin’s regime, but the immediate impact on crude output from one of the world’s top suppliers remained uncertain.
“There’s a possibility of supply disruption any time you get a serious geopolitical event in a major oil supplier,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management. “It opens up a can of worms and we’re going to have to see how that plays out.”
Futures markets pointed to minor gains at the open on Wall Street. The benchmark S&P 500 and tech-focused Nasdaq Composite were tipped to rise 0.1 per cent.
The Vix volatility index, which measures expected volatility in the S&P 500 over the next 30 days, rose 1 percentage point to 14.62.
Gold also notched gains, rising 0.4 per cent to $1,928.4 a troy ounce as investors turned to haven assets. In Moscow, the rouble slid 1.8 per cent to a 15-month low against the dollar.
Bond markets benefited, with the yield on two-year US Treasuries slipping 0.03 percentage points to 4.71 per cent, while the yield on 10-year debt fell 0.04 percentage points to 3.7 per cent. Yields fall as bond prices rise.
Equity markets in Asia were lower on Monday, with Japan’s Topix and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng indices down 0.2 per cent and China’s CSI 300 shedding 1.4 per cent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3 per cent after analysts at Goldman Sachs downgraded the country’s equities to underweight because of dimming prospects for Chinese economic growth.
China’s renminbi dropped as much as 0.8 per cent to a seven-month low before ticking up slightly to 7.236 against the dollar, as the country’s markets returned from a long holiday and concerns grew over domestic economic growth.