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US Stocks Down to Worst Quarter in 2 Years, European Stocks Closed Lower


London, Thursday, 31 March 2022



US Markets Summary


Stocks dipped on Thursday, ending a tumultuous quarter in the negative, as investors assessed President Joe Biden's decision to release the largest amount of oil ever from the country's strategic petroleum reserve in a bid to cool rising energy costs.


The S&P 500 index fell 1.6 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 550 points.


The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.5%. Stocks have had their worst quarter in two years as a result of the developments.


WTI crude oil futures fell 6.6 percent to around $100 per barrel, continuing a recent trend of price fluctuations.


President Joe Biden announced plans to release 1 million barrels of oil per day from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve starting in May for the next six months in the largest release ever to try to lower gasoline prices at a White House ceremony on Thursday.


Energy prices have risen dramatically in recent months, notably since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.


"For the globe, this is a moment of consequence and peril, and for American families, this is a moment of pain at the pump," Biden added.


"As a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin's activities, our prices are rising," he remarked. There isn't enough to go around. "And the basic truth is that we need more oil supply right now if we want lower gas costs," Biden added.


Meanwhile, Russian forces continued to bombard Kyiv and northern Ukraine, despite rumours that Moscow had agreed to scale back its military presence in the region during recent peace talks in Istanbul.


According to the United Nations, the number of people who have fled their homes to escape the invasion and seek shelter in Ukraine has surpassed 4 million as of Wednesday.



European Markets Summary


Main European bourses closed March and the first quarter on a sour note, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index bottoming around the 450 mark but posting a monthly gain of about 1% in March.


The euro area's growth has slowed dramatically as inflationary pressures mount in the wake of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.


Consumer sentiment in the eurozone has dropped to its lowest level in history, while companies' production estimates have plummeted.


Meanwhile, ECB President Christine Lagarde has stated that the central bank's bond-buying stimulus programme could be phased down in the third quarter due to rising inflationary pressures.


Autos rose over 6% to lead the increases across all sectors, with the exception of basic resources and oil and gas, which both dipped around 2%.


U.S. Stock Market Indexes as at 4:00 p.m. ET

  • S&P 500: -71.95 (-1.56%) to 4,530.50

  • Nasdaq: -221.76 (-1.54%) to 14,220.52

  • Dow Jones: -550.82 (-1.56%) to 34,677.99


European Stock Market Indexes

  • STOXX Europe 600: -4.33 points, or 0.94%, to close at 455.86

  • FTSE 100 in London: -63.07 points, or 0.83% to close at 7,515

  • DAX 30 in Germany: -1.31%, or 191.3 points, to close at 14,414

  • CAC 40 in France: -1.21%, or by 81.72 points, to close at 6,659.

  • FTSE MIB 30 in Italy: -278.99 points, or 1.1%, to close at 25,021

  • IBEX 35 in Spain: -105.5 points, or 1.23%, to close at 8,445 points


Other markets

  • Ten-year U.S. Treasury note: -3.1 bps to yield 2.3270%

  • Dollar index: +0.56 or + 0.57% at 98.35

  • VIX volatility index: +1.23 (6.36%) at 20.56


Oil prices

  • Brent crude: +0.91 or + 0.87% at $ 105.62 per barrel as on Mar 31, 2022 9:59 p.m. BST

  • West Texas Intermediate: -6.63 or -6.15% at $ 101.19 per barrel as on Mar 31, 2022 4:59 p.m. EDT


Precious metals

  • Gold: +3.27 or +0.17% $ 1,937.12 an ounce as on Mar, 31 2022 at 17:25 NY Time

  • Silver: -0.11 or -0.44% $ 24.79 an ounce as on Mar, 31 2022 at 17:25 NY Time


Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin: −1,299.10 (2.76%) at $ 45,778.90 as on 31 Mar, 21:25 UTC

  • Ethereum: −83.80 (2.47%) at $ 3,302.88 as on 31 Mar, 21:25 UTC


(Written and edited by: The Decision Maker)