ISTANBUL 

Global markets continue to post mixed figures due to high volatility stemming from the Russia-Ukraine tensions and the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) hawkish stance in monetary policy.

Low risk appetite remained in the stock markets following Fed’s decisions from Wednesday’s meeting and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s statements.

The Fed’s signal that interest rate hikes will begin in March and Powell’s speech on upside risks in inflation strengthened the expectations that the first interest rate increase would be 50 basis points.

Despite the impression that the bank may increase interest rates at each meeting, at this stage markets expect a total of five interest rate hikes in 2022.

On the geopolitical side, while Russia ruled out an attack on Ukraine, there is increased Russian military build-up in the regions close to the Ukrainian border and in Belarus.

The EU announced that every option was on the table, including the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 project against Russia. Meanwhile, the US has called the UN Security Council to a meeting.

On the macroeconomic side, the US economy grew by 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2021, above the expectations.

The US economy, which shrank by 3.4% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, showed the strongest growth since 1984 with 5.7% in 2021.

Weekly jobless claims in the US decreased to 260,000 last week after a 3-week increase.

The financial results for the last quarter of 2021 continue to be announced.

Apple increased its revenues by 11% annually in the last quarter of last year, to a record level of $123.9 billion, despite the supply chain difficulties.

With these developments, the US indices closed Thursday in the negative territory.

Meanwhile, European indices closed the day with gains thanks to increasing banking index.

Asian indices posted mixed figures at closing.

* Writing by Gokhan Ergocun

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