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Europe Markets: European stock markets tumble as Russia launches military operation in Ukraine

European markets tumbled Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine, crystallizing some of investors worst fears of a full-scale war in Eastern Europe.

Assets perceived as risky tumbled and the euro
EURUSD,
-1.20%

sank 0.9% against the U.S. dollar as investors turned to safe-havens.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
SXXP,
-3.52%

fell by about 3% to 440.69, Germany’s DAX 30
DAX,
-4.44%

declined 3.6% to 14,097.23, the French CAC 40
PX1,
-4.27%

fell 3.4% and the FTSE 100 index
UKX,
-2.80%

declined 2.4%.

A closely watched bond yield in Europe, Germany’s 10-year government debt
TMBMKDE-10Y,
0.125%
,
known as the bund, was yielding 0.138%, compared with 0.239% on Wednesday, FactSet data show. The comparable U.S. Treasury
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.859%

was yielding 1.87%, down 10 basis points from its levels on Wednesday afternoon.

The German bund is commonly considered to be a proxy for Europe’s risk-free rate and is watched as closely as Treasurys in the U.S.

U.S. stock futures indicated a sharp losses, with those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YM00,
-2.10%

and the S%P 500 index
ES00,
-2.07%

pointing to opening declines of around 2%.

The European Union said that it would proceed with further sanctions against Russia on Thursday, following its overnight invasion of Ukraine, where explosions and missile strikes near Kyiv were reported.

“President Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe. In these dark hours, the European Union stands together with Ukraine and its people,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

According to reports, the 27 heads of state of the EU will gather for an emergency meeting in Brussels at 2 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday, where Von der Leyen is due to announce new set of sanctions, intent on hurting Russia economically.

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