U.S. Futures Rise Early as West Looks to Raise Pressure on Russia By Investing.com

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By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com — U.S. stock futures were higher in early dealings Thursday in New York, against the backdrop of a day of intense diplomacy in Brussels, where the U.S. is trying to cajole Europe into putting more economic pressure on Russia to stop its war in Ukraine.

By 7:40 AM ET (1140 GMT), were up 136 points, or 0.4%, while were up 0.5% and were up 0.6%. All of the three main cash indices had faltered on Wednesday after a week of solid gains; the market has digested the risk of faster monetary policy tightening and the prospect of a global economic slowdown due to the war in Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden is attending summits of both NATO and the G7 and will also be at a meeting of EU leaders later in the day, which may or may not yield fresh sanctions on purchases of Russian energy exports. The meetings are taking place a month to the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, triggering sharp sell-offs in equity markets and an equally sharp squeeze in oil, metals, and agricultural commodities – all of which are heavily influenced by the availability (or otherwise) of Russian exports. Newsflow from the battlefield continues to show intense fighting, with Russia claiming to have captured Izyum, an important rail junction town near Kharkiv, and Ukrainian forces crippling at least one Russian landing ship that was supplying the troops besieging the port city of Mariupol.

The domestic news slate, by contrast, is relatively thin, although the Federal Reserve’s Chris Waller, Charles Evans, and – almost inevitably – James Bullard will all weigh in with fresh comments on the need to tighten monetary policy further. Durable goods orders data for February are also due and are expected to show another modest slowdown in growth as the pandemic-driven surge in spending on hardware recedes into the past. FactSet Research and Darden Restaurants head a thin earnings roster, with the owner of Olive Garden missing forecasts for its quarterly profit and also issuing full-year guidance well below expectations.

Washington’s focus remains on the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, meanwhile.

inched higher, as the tough fighting and the prospect of extra Western help for Ukraine coming out of the day’s summits increased the likelihood of the conflict dragging on. Any sign of further restrictions on European buying will force importers to chase barrels elsewhere on the global market. French major TotalEnergies (NYSE:) said late on Wednesday that it, too, will stop buying Russian crude by the end of the year, after coming under intense pressure for not announcing that step at the same time as Shell (LON:), BP (NYSE:) and other European companies. The company still intends to buy Russian gas, however.

By 7:40 AM ET (1140 GMT), U.S. crude futures were up 0.1% at $115.03 a barrel, while was up 0.1% at $121.74 a barrel.

rose 0.8% to $1,952 a barrel, while the was essentially flat against the dollar at $1.0994.

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