European Shares Plunge Amid War Fears

European stocks were sharply lower on Monday as rising geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine sparked nervousness at the start of the week.

The United States on Sunday said Russia might create a surprise pretext for an attack, as it reaffirmed a pledge to defend “every inch” of Nato territory.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadim Prystaiko said today in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Kiev could drop its position on joining the NATO bloc if this move helps avert a war with Russia.

The pan European Stoxx 600 fell 2.5 percent to 458.14 after declining 0.6 percent on Friday. The German DAX lost 3.2 percent, France’s CAC 40 index slipped 2.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 2.2 percent.

Banks led losses, with Commerzbank declining 5 percent after Germany’s finance minister said the government would not keep its stake in the lender in the long run. Rival Deutsche Bank lost more than 5 percent.

Spain’s BBVA lost 3.4 percent after announcing it would invest $300 million (about €263 million¹) in Neon, a Brazilian digital bank founded in 2016.

Clariant shares plummeted as much as 19 percent. The Swiss specialty chemicals group delayed the release of its 2021 results as investigators probe whistleblowers’ allegations.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo jumped 3.5 percent as bullion prices hit the highest since November 19 at $1,865.15 per ounce.

BP Plc fell nearly 3 percent, Royal Dutch Shell was down 1.5 percent and TotalEnergies dropped 1.3 percent despite oil prices reaching seven-year highs on supply concerns.

Chemicals company Synthomer fell almost 6 percent after warning of subdued demand in a key rubber unit.

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