US and European market futures recovered on Friday, while selling pressure on Asian equities lessened, as US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to meet with Russia’s foreign minister, bolstering expectations for a resolution to the Ukraine crisis.
Following the announcement, S&P 500 futures rose 0.7 percent and Nasdaq futures rose 0.8 percent, while pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.45 percent and FTSE futures rose 0.4 percent in early trade.
Positive sentiment was widespread across asset types. Safe-haven currencies such as the Japanese yen and Swiss franc fell slightly in Asia trading after reaching two-week highs against the dollar overnight, while gold fell 0.4 percent.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accepted an invitation to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov late next week provided Russia does not invade Ukraine, the U.S. State Department said.
“It’s better news than what we had yesterday,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne. “But we’ve seen diplomatic talks go nowhere before, and the troops are still on the border, so risks remain.”
There was slightly less positivity when it came to Asian shares. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia shares outside Japan was last down 0.24%, but markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Seoul all pared deeper morning losses.
Wall Street had taken a dive overnight, with the S&P 500 dropping 2.1% and the Nasdaq off 2.9% – while gold shot to an eight-month peak – on renewed U.S. warnings of an imminent Russian invasion.
Investors fear a wider war as one of the deepest crises in post-Cold War relations plays out, with Russia wanting security guarantees, including Ukraine’s never joining NATO.
Treasuries likewise gave back some overnight gains, with the benchmark 10-year yield last up two basis points to 1.9877%. Two-year yields also rose two basis points to 1.4902%.
Oil dipped and Brent crude futures were last down 0.6% on Friday at $92.44 a barrel, more than 4% below Monday’s peak, and U.S. crude fell 0.7% to $91.07 a barrel.