US stock indices failed to hold earlier gains and closed lower on Friday, with the Dow erasing its 300-point increase to close 230 points down at 32,943, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 fell 1.3% and 2.1%, respectively. After banning Russian energy imports this week, US President Biden called to downgrade Russia’s “most favored nation” status as a trading partner, enabling new tariffs to be implemented on Moscow and further lifting projections of higher consumer prices. On the data front, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment came below expectations at 59.7, the lowest reading since 2011, underpinned by a sharp rise in inflation expectations amid higher commodity prices. On the corporate front, DocuSign shares plunged over 20% after announcing a lower than expected guidance for the fiscal year. The Dow closed in the red for the fifth consecutive week, while war jitters pressured the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to fall for the second consecutive week.
The Nikkei 225 Index fell 2.05% to close at 25,163 while the broader Topix Index lost 1.67% to 1,800 on Friday, with both indexes shedding some gains following a 4% Thursday bounce, as Japanese shares tracked a weak overnight finish on Wall Street. Technology, consumer and manufacturing stocks led the declines, with losses from Lasertec (-9%), SoftBank (-6.2%), Tokyo Electron (-2.7%), Toyota (-4.4%), Sony Group (-2.5%), Daikin Industries (-2.3%) and Nidec Corp (-4.2%), among others.
All major European bourses rebounded Friday, with the benchmark DAX 30 adding over 1% to above 13,600 points and closing the week on a solid note as investors took advantage of lower valuations. The FTSE 100 closed 0.7% higher at 7,150 on Friday, marking a weekly gain of 2.3% and rebounding from the 11-month low touched in the beginning of March. The UK economy expanded at a faster than expected 0.8% over a month during February, underpinned by growth in all sectors. Leisure and travel stocks led the gains on the corporate front, driven by airline group IAG (1%), and tourism agency TUI (2.6%). The strong economic output data amid soaring inflation strengthened the case for a third interest rate hike by the Bank of England next week, although the war painted a gloomier outlook.
The FTSE MIB index closed 0.7% higher at 23,041 on Friday, following last session’s 4.2% loss, as strong performances in the industrial sector more than offset losses among banks and oil companies. Leonardo shares surged 11.3% amid higher demand for manufacturers focused on defense machinery, in line with its European peers. At the same time, Telecom Italia shares gained nearly 5% as the firm announced it will give its KKR & Co. bid verdict on Sunday. The board will discuss the US private equity firm’s USD 12 billion non-binding offer made last November, valuing the telecom at EUR 0.505 cents per share compared to the current EUR 0.289 cents per share. On the other hand, the accelerated pace of asset purchase reduction announced by the ECB this week continued to pressure Italy’s financial sector, as seen with UniCredit (-1.1%) and Bper Banca (-0.6%).
The Ibex 35 finished 0.9% firmer at 8,142 on Friday, supported by Melia Hotels, Acciona and Solaria. Meanwhile, the ECB has said it is preparing to be more aggressive on ending fiscal stimulus packages. For the week, the Ibex 35 added 5.5%, its biggest weekly gain since February of 2021.
The Central Bank of Russia suspended stock trading at the Moscow Exchange on Friday, March 11, with limited exceptions. MOEX trading has been shut for ten straight sessions, the longest in the country’s modern history. The MOEX has also been suspended from the World Federation of Exchanges, the main global trade association for bourses. Since MOEX last opened two weeks ago, Russian stocks and related ETFs listed at the London and New York exchanges dropped precipitously before trading was suspended, while global index providers began removing Russian equities from widely-tracked indexes. Meanwhile, Russia has promised to prop up the equity market with up to $10 billion when it reopens.
The BSE Sensex edged 85.9 points or 0.15% higher to close at 55,550.3 on Friday, extending gains for the fourth consecutive session as stable oil prices countered the aggressive rate hike bets. Gains were led mainly by pharmaceuticals, capital goods and banks with 15 out of 30 stocks ending in the green. Among the individual stocks, notable gainers included Sun Pharmaceuticals (+3.82%), Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (+2.07%), Indian Tobacco Company (+1.81%) and Power Grid Corporation of India (+1.7%). On the week, the BSE booked a 2.2% gain.
The Shanghai Composite rose 0.41% to close at 3,310 while the Shenzhen Component gained 0.62% to 12,447 on Friday, as mainland shares reversed losses from earlier in the session on bargain hunting and short covering towards the close. China’s equity markets sold off at Friday’s open after US-listed Chinese stocks tumbled overnight following the naming of the first Chinese firms to be potentially delisted from US exchanges. The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index plunged 10% on Thursday, its biggest slide since October 2008, with firms including Alibaba, Baidu, Nio and XPeng falling between 6%-12%. Meanwhile, China’s securities regulator said Friday it is confident it will reach an agreement with US counterparts on securities supervision. Healthcare firms led the afternoon rebound, with sharp gains from Changchun High New (8.2%), Andon Health (10%) and Guangzhou Wondfo (20%). The benchmark Shanghai Index dropped 4% this week to close at its lowest level since November 2020.