European markets are moving towards greater openness; The war in Ukraine remains at the center of concerns

LONDON — European stocks are set to open higher on Thursday as investors keep an eye on developments in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Britain’s FTSE is expected to open 16 points higher at 7,636, Germany’s DAX 45 points higher at 14,392, France’s CAC 40 14 points higher at 6,638 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 12 points higher at 24,545, according to IG data.

The war in Ukraine remains at the forefront of market participants’ concerns in Europe, with the second phase of the conflict, focusing on the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, being fully underway.

Russia has set a new ultimatum for surrender in the heavily destroyed city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces and hundreds of civilians would be entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials continue to call for more arms support and faster delivery as Russia steps up its bombardment of Donbass.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy if they would agree to meet him in their respective capitals.

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U.S. stock futures rose in trading overnight as investors digested more quarterly reports from Tesla and United Airlines. The weekly jobless claims should also be released on Thursday.

In Asia-Pacific markets overnight, stocks were mixed as investors continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in China as well as movements in the Japanese yen.

Investors are watching for signs of political support from Chinese authorities as the mainland continues to grapple with its worst surge of Covid since the initial outbreak in 2020. Its strict zero Covid policy has raised questions about the economic outlook for China.

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– CNBC.com staff contributed to this market report.

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