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European stock indexes decline on Wednesday as central banks announce monetary policy

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Major European indexes declined on Wednesday, with the STOXX Europe 600 losing 1.1%. The DAX decreased by 0.5%, the CAC 40 lost 1.2%, the FTSE 100 fell by 0.9%, while the FTSE MIB and the IBEX 35 decreased by 1.4% and 1%, respectively.

Yesterday, investors were wary about the results of the Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting. The US regulator increased the interest rate by 50 basis points. Other central banks around the world are likely to follow suit to fight rising inflation. However, such aggressive measures could backfire on the economy.

Today, the Bank of England has hiked the interest rate by 25 basis points to 1% from 0.75%.

The EU is planning to impose a new round of sanctions against the Russian Federation. The European Commission has called for a blanket ban on Russian energy imports, including oil. However, the EC has admitted that an immediate ban would be impossible, and EU member states would need time to find other suppliers and reduce the impact of sanctions on their own economies. The EU is expected to fully phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.

The market was also influenced by weak macroeconomic data from Germany. According to the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), exports fell by 3.3% month-on-month in March, reaching €120.6 billion. Imports increased by 3.4% to €117.4 billion. Germany's trade balance decreased to €3.2 billion from €11.1 billion in February, well below market expectations.

Retail sales in the eurozone fell by 0.4% in March, exceeding a 0.3% decrease expected by economists. Year-over-year, sales rose by 0.8%, falling short of an expected 1.8% increase.

Shares of Volkswagen AG (VW) lost 1%, despite the automaker's profits almost doubling in the first quarter of 2022. The company's revenues increased slightly as well.

Moller-Maersk A/S gained 3.4%, thanks to the shipping company's revenues increasing 2.5-fold, as well as a 64% increase in profits.

Shares of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) lost 4% after the company lowered its outlook for 2022 due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The share price of Equinor ASA increased by 3.1% thanks to the company's profits rising significantly in Q1 2022. Furthermore, Equinor's income has doubled in the first quarter.


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