Portugal Colonial - Stocks mixed, oil higher as markets monitor Ukraine

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Stocks mixed, oil higher as markets monitor Ukraine
Stocks mixed, oil higher as markets monitor Ukraine

Stocks mixed, oil higher as markets monitor Ukraine

US stocks ended mixed Wednesday while oil prices rallied as markets assessed skepticism over Russia's latest statements on Ukraine and Federal Reserve minutes that contained no major surprises.

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Wall Street equities were solidly negative just ahead of the afternoon release of the Fed minutes, which showed central bankers favoring a more aggressive pace of interest rate hikes compared with the last monetary tightening cycle.

Still, investors were already aware of that sentiment at the Fed, based on earlier comments from officials, said Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management.

"There was concern that perhaps there could have been some information in there that the market was not already aware of," Cahill said, adding that stocks changed direction in relief.

The broad-based S&P 500, which had dropped nearly one percent at session lows, finished slightly higher, while the other two major indices ended only marginally lower.

Earlier, European equity markets finished lower as markets digested comments from western leaders questioning Russian statements that troops had pulled back from the Ukraine border.

"So far we do not see any sign of de-escalation on the ground; no withdrawals of troops or equipment," said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, adding that the alliance will shore up its eastern defenses with forward deployments in member states bordering Ukraine.

The uncertainty over Russia has also kept the oil market on guard, pushing prices to their highest level since 2014 as some experts discuss the possibility of oil prices hitting $100 a barrel, less than $7 above their current level.

In other economic news, US retail sales jumped more than expected in January, while industrial production also came in unexpectedly strong.

But UK annual inflation has hit the highest level since 1992, official data showed Wednesday, adding pressure to the cost of living and on the Bank of England to keep raising rates.

Among individual companies, Airbnb jumped 3.7 percent as the home rental company reported better-than-expected results and said strong bookings indicated minimal impact from the latest Covid-19 wave.

But ViacomCBS plunged 17.8 percent after disappointing earnings that underscored the heavy spending associated with launching its streaming services.

- Key figures around 2140 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 34,934.27 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 4,475.01 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 14,124.09 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 7,603.78 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.3 percent at 15,370.30 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 6,964.98 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,137.22 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.2 percent at 27,460.40 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.5 percent at 24,718.90 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,465.83 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $94.81 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.7 percent at $93.66 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1377 from $1.1359 late Tuesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3584 from $1.3538

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.72 pence from 83.88 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 115.46 yen from 115.61 yen