European stock markets closed slightly higher Monday as the Russia-Ukraine war continued to weigh on sentiment in global markets. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed 0.1% higher, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions. Mining stocks rose 4.3% to lead gains, while travel and leisure stocks fell 1.8% after a Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed in China.
U.S. stock markets faltered on Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sounded the alarm over rising inflation and announced a crackdown, hitting daily lows. Powell said Monday that inflation is “far too high” and promised to take “necessary steps” to bring prices under control. He indicated that rate hikes could move from traditional quarter-percentage-point steps to more aggressive half-basis-point increases if needed.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region rose this morning, although shares of China Eastern Airlines fell in Hong Kong after the airline’s Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed in southern China on Monday. Meanwhile, shares of Alibaba rose more than 3% after the company announced it would increase its share buyback program to $25 billion from $15 billion. The Australian stock market was sharply higher this morning, recouping losses from the previous session.
Nike reports sales growth thanks to North American demand
Shares of Nike rose more than 5% in extended trading Monday after the sneaker retailer’s third-quarter results beat analysts’ estimates on robust demand in North America. Nike’s third-quarter sales in North America rose 9%. Sales in Greater China, the company’s third-largest market behind the Europe, Middle East and Africa segment, fell 5% from a year earlier. For the current fiscal year, Nike reiterated its expectation of mid-single-digit sales growth compared with the previous 12-month period. Analysts had expected sales to rise 5.3%, according to Refinitiv. Nike reported net income of $1.4 billion, or 87 cents per share, for the three-month period ended Feb. 28, compared with $1.45 billion, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier. That beat earnings estimates of 71 cents per share, Refinitiv calculated.
Burger King Russia partner refuses to close stores
The owner of Burger King said the operator of its 800 stores in Russia has “refused” to close the stores, despite demands that it cease operations. Restaurant Brands said it had contacted its local partner, Alexander Kolobov, to close the stores amid the war in Ukraine. However, the company said it was unable to withdraw from those stores due to “complicated” contracts with foreign partners. Mr. Kolobov told the BBC he did not have the “authority or power” to stop Burger King’s operations in Russia. But he said any closure must be approved by all of the company’s investors. “The decision to terminate and suspend operations of the franchisee, which employs about 25,000 people, must be made by all shareholders, taking into account the possible impact on employees and their families,” he said.