European stocks mostly closed higher Friday. Ukraine deal was a major catalyst. The opposition signed a deal with the current president Victor Yanukovych effectively ending the stressful months of blockade of the main Kiev square – called Maidan in the wake of the so called Ukrainian revolution. Protesters gave ground for a short period of time and then forcefully reclaimed parts of the city reclaiming the square and government offices.
The parliament voted the president out yesterday, and announced a general election on 25th of May. The future remains uncertain, with a lot of commentators still predicting a painful breakup of the country. Ukraine’s western parts are mostly Ukrainian, while south-east parts are dominated by russian language. This divide is reflected in politics too. Western part initiated the revolution with news surfacing a few days ago that the western city of Lviv and the surrounding region decided to become independent. That news was never confirmed but shows the country’s divide.
Stoxx Euro 600 index closed 0.4% higher. France’s CAC 40 was the best performer over the major indexes in Europe rising by 0.6%, while Germany’s DAX and the UK’s FTSE 100 both closed 0.4% higher. US markets were also higher. Data on the home sales didn’t change the outlook much as the investors decided not to take into account the news since it is influenced by cold weather. January numbers indicated a 5.1% fall in new home sales. S&P 500 ended Friday 0.3 percent up. This was the continuation of a wider trend after the minor EM caused correction.
Weak housing data did, however, move the euro higher against dollar sending it to Friday’s high of $1,3720. CNY slipped for the sixth day against the USD on reports that China is markedly slowing and the exchange rate is heavily overvalued. Gold prices fell 0.2% to $1,323 per ounce. London’s Brent crude was 0.7% lower, closing at $109.54 per barrel. G20 finance ministers will meet on Saturday to discuss the global outlook and probably will touch Ukraine’s impeding fiscal crisis.