European stocks turn positive after shaky start; markets monitor Ukraine, growth outlook

LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher on Wednesday as investors monitor developments in Ukraine and assess the IMF’s latest global economic forecasts.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 10 points higher at 7,618, Germany’s DAX 50 points higher at 14,199, France’s CAC 40 up 20 points at 6,560 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 50 points at 24,306, according to data from IG.

European markets continue to focus on the war in Ukraine. The conflict has entered a second phase in which fierce fighting has begun in the east of the country.

Ukraine said on Monday that Russia’s offensive in the eastern Donbas region had begun, with a top official describing it as the “second phase” of the war. The eastern city of Kreminna fell to Russian forces on Tuesday, its regional governor said, marking the first city to be captured in this phase of the war.

Investors are also digesting the latest gloomy global economic forecasts from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

On Tuesday, the IMF cut its global growth projections for 2022 and 2023, saying the economic impact from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will “propagate far and wide.” On Monday, the World Bank lowered its global growth forecast for 2022 by nearly a full percentage point, from 4.1% to 3.2%, citing the pressure that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has placed on the global economy.

Data releases include euro zone industrial production for February and new car registrations for March in a number of European countries including the U.K., Germany and France.

Earnings come from Heineken and ASML on Wednesday while Rio Tinto publishes a first-quarter operations review.

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