politics

European Stocks Log Worst Week Since March 2020, Down 7%, as Ukraine War Roils Global Markets

Mykola Tymchenko | Reuters
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 3.6%, with banks plunging 6.7% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses fell into negative territory.
  • Global markets retreated Friday after Russian forces attacked and seized control of Europe's largest nuclear power plant.
  • Russia has been ratcheting up its assault on its neighbor in recent days, shelling major cities and advancing toward the capital city of Kyiv.

LONDON — European markets closed sharply lower on Friday after Russian forces attacked and seized control of Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 3.6%, with banks plunging 6.7% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses fell into negative territory.

For the week, the benchmark lost 7% and suffered its worst week since March 2020, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

A fire broke out at a training facility at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after an attack by Russian forces early Friday morning. Ukraine's nuclear agency said Russian troops have now taken control of the facility.

International leaders have condemned the bombardment and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he would call for an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the attack.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said Friday that NATO leaders would discuss a possible no-fly zone, according to the Financial Times, although the alliance is reluctant to entertain that possibility for risk of sparking a wider conflict with Russia.

Russia has been ratcheting up its assault on its neighbor in recent days, shelling major cities and advancing toward the capital city of Kyiv. The invasion has drawn unprecedented economic sanctions from Western governments.

On Wall Street, the major U.S. indexes also fell despite a strong February jobs report from the Labor Department.

In terms of individual share price movement, Anglo-Russian miner Polymetal International bounced as much as 25% before later paring gains significantly after a downgrade from JPMorgan. The stock has plunged more than 60% over the past week due to its Russian exposure.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Telecom Italia slid nearly 16% to record lows as analysts cut forecasts after the company reported a 2021 loss and issued disappointing forward guidance.

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- CNBC's Ryan Browne contributed to this report

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