Markets

European Stocks Close Up 4.7% to Notch Best Session in Nearly Two Years as Commodity Prices Ease

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  • U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that the U.S. will ban imports of Russian oil, marking a major escalation in the international response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Corporate earnings continue to roll in across Europe, with Vivendi, Adidas, Continental, Deutsche Post, L&G and Prudential among the big names reporting on Wednesday.

LONDON — European markets jumped on Wednesday as commodity prices took a breather amid Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 4.7%, notching its best day since March 2020. Auto stocks added 9.5% to lead the gains as most sectors and major bourses ended the session in positive territory. Oil and gas shares fell nearly 2.5%.

Stocks across Europe fluctuated on Tuesday before closing slightly lower, as U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. will ban imports of Russian oil, marking a major escalation in the international response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The move risks exacerbating existing price surges on supply concerns and expectations of stronger growth, and crude oil prices bounced once again following Biden's announcement before moderating on Wednesday.

Global market participants closely monitored the latest price action in commodities, which have surged of late on the back of geopolitical tensions surrounding the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

In oil markets, international benchmark Brent crude futures fell 6.4% to $119.80 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures dropped 5.7% to $116.53 per barrel.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose sharply after another choppy trading session on Tuesday saw all major averages close deeper into correction territory.

European investors are also looking ahead to the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting on Thursday for signals as to how policymakers are approaching inflation and the fresh challenges posed by the conflict in Ukraine.

Corporate earnings continued to roll in across Europe, with Vivendi, Adidas, Continental, Deutsche Post, L&G and Prudential among the big names reporting on Wednesday.

Adidas shares jumped nearly 13% after the German sportswear company's earnings, while Deutsche Post DHL added 12%

At the top of the Stoxx 600, Polymetal International shares surged more than 62% after the Anglo-Russian miner announced that all of its operations in Russia and Kazakhstan have continued undisrupted, while asserting that targeted sanctions against it are unlikely.

Near the bottom of the European blue chip index, Belgian automobile distribution company D'Ieteren Group fell almost 11% after its full-year earnings report.

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- CNBC's Ryan Browne contributed to this report

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