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Stocks edge higher as Biden offers US gas to EU

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·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3 min read
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stock US President Joe Biden gives a joint press statement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters
European stocks: US President Joe Biden gives a joint press statement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

European stock edged higher on Friday as US president Joe Biden and European officials announced plans to send US natural gas to Europe.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up 0.1% to 7,482, while the French CAC (^FCHI) was 0.1% lower. The DAX (^GDAXI) was up by 0.2% as trading closed in Europe.

Across the pond, stocks stalled as markets evaluated the possibility of bigger US interest rates in store and the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was treading water while the the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 0.7%. The Dow Jones (^DJI) was flat as markets closed around Europe.

Biden's plan is to supply the EU with up to 15 billion additional cubic metres of liquefied natural gas by the end of 2022.

Read more: UK consumer confidence continues to fall as cost-of-living crisis deepens

Boosting US liquefied natural gas shipments will play a key role in emerging plans to help Europe curb reliance on Russia, US and European officials said.

Russian energy is a key source of income and political leverage for Moscow. Almost 40% of the European Union’s natural gas comes from Russia to heat homes, generate electricity and power industry.

Putin threatened to require European customers that rely on Russia gas supplies to pay in roubles. That would increase demand for the Russian currency, pushing up an exchange rate that has slumped under sanctions.

The London benchmark popped into the green despite weak retail sales and consumer confidence data reflecting fears over surging inflation and a cost of living crisis.

Next (NXT.L) jumped 1.9% in the FTSE 100 index, having fallen sharply in the week of its annual results.

Next was among the climbers of the session. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Next was among the climbers of the session. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

Looking at the fallers, Airtel Africa (AAFRF) slumped 10% after a deal to sell its towers business in Malawi, while B&M (BME) lost 3% after Credit Suisse downgraded the retailer to "neutral".

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said: "We appear to have hit a point in which the initial shock of the Ukraine invasion has passed and markets have corrected back to a point where the economic risks are deemed to be priced in."

"In the absence of any significant developments, equity markets have come to a relative standstill and could remain that way until we see some progress."

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 (^N225) gained 0.14%, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) led the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) lower. They fell 2.77% and 1.46% respectively.

Read more: Shell to pump £25bn into UK energy system over next decade

Meanwhile, crude oil prices remain well above the $100 a barrel mark. Brent crude (BZ=F) was trading at $119 a barrel this Friday as the EU remained split on imposing an oil embargo on Russia.

Watch: Why are gas prices rising