By Bansari Mayur Kamdar
-UK shares shed their early gains to end lower on Monday, with tensions in Ukraine keeping global markets on edge.
The FTSE 100 index closed 0.4% down, while the domestically focused mid-cap index declined 1.2% and hit a more than 11-month low.
The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed in principle to a summit over Ukraine.
But the White House said it had agreed to a meeting only “if an invasion hasn’t happened”, while the Kremlin said there were no concrete plans yet for a summit.
And after an extraordinary meeting of his Security Council, Putin later said he was considering a request by two regions of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists to be recognised as independent – a move that could give Moscow a reason to openly send troops.
“European markets have continued to be susceptible to headline risk today and are likely to remain so for some time to come,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
“Today’s price action is a perfect example of how a single headline can turn sentiment on its head.”
Russia-exposed miners Polymetal International PLC and EVRAZ plc fell 8.5% and 5.7%, respectively, on the possibility of any sanctions imposed in the event of a Russian invasion.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to set out plans to scrap coronavirus restrictions.
Activity in Britain’s private sector picked up at the fastest pace since June 2021 this month, as spending on travel, leisure and entertainment rose after an Omicron wave of cases eased, a survey showed.
Among individual stocks, heavyweight drugmaker AstraZeneca climbed 4.0% after saying its cancer drug helped patients with a type of advanced breast cancer live longer.
In the United States, markets were closed on Monday for Presidents Day.