Russia

European Markets Close Sharply Lower; Russian Convoy Heads for Kyiv; Stoxx 600 Down 2.2%

Vitaliy Gnidyi | Reuters
  • Russia appears to have upped the ante in its invasion of Ukraine overnight with reports and satellite imagery emerging of a long convoy, some 40 miles (65km) long, of Russian military vehicles heading towards Ukraine's capital Kyiv.
  • Earnings in Europe came from Bayer, Covestro, HelloFresh and Zalando.

LONDON — European stocks closed firmly lower on Tuesday amid reports that a significant Russian convoy is heading toward Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 2.2% by the close, with travel and leisure stocks plunging 7% to lead losses as most sectors and major bourses slid into negative territory. Basic resources bucked the downward trend to add 1%.

Russia appeared to have upped the ante in its invasion of Ukraine overnight with reports and satellite imagery emerging of a long convoy, some 40 miles (65km) long, of Russian military vehicles heading towards Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

The satellite images were taken by Maxar Technologies on Monday and show a convoy of armored trucks travelling sometimes two or three vehicles abreast on the road. Official sources have not confirmed the convoy, however.

Other images from Maxar suggest additional military activity in southern Belarus, which borders Ukraine and is an ally of Russia, with ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units seen in the images. Again, official sources have not confirmed whether these units are preparing to join Russian forces in an assault on Ukraine. On Monday there were unconfirmed reports that Belarus could be preparing to help Russia's invasion.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks slipped on the first day of March as oil prices surged and investors continued to monitor the fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

Earnings in Europe came from Bayer, Covestro, HelloFresh and Zalando. Shares in companies perceived by the market to be exposed to Russia continued to take a hit, with Anglo-Russian miner Polymetal International plunging a further 26% by afternoon trade.

At the top of the index, German defense company Rheinmetall continued to climb following the German government's vow to boost defense spending, with shares adding 17% on Tuesday.

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