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Europe Markets: European stocks rally on best day in nearly two years as Ukraine’s president cools to NATO membership

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European stocks rallied on Wednesday, buoyed by an interview from Ukraine’s president in which he appeared to make major concessions.

The Stoxx Europe 600
SXXP,
+4.29%

rose 4.7% to 434.35, helped by a rally in the beleaguered banking sector. It was the strongest one-day rise since March 24, 2020, according to FactSet data.

Even with the rally, the index has dropped 12% this year.

Gainers on Wednesday included BNP Paribas
BNP,
+9.70%
,
Adidas
ADS,
+12.82%

and Deutsche Post
DPW,
+11.50%
.

Sportswear manufacturer Adidas set out optimistic guidance for 2022, including a return to growth in China. Deutsche Post announced a new share buyback as it guided for a steady profit excluding the impact of the conflict in Eastern Europe.

Of the major regional indexes, the German DAX
DAX,
+7.11%

surged 7.1%, the French CAC 40
PX1,
+6.57%

surged 6.6% and the U.K. FTSE 100
UKX,
+2.79%

gained 2.8%.

Volodymr Zelensky told ABC News on Tuesday that “I have cooled down regarding the question” of NATO membership and said he was open to dialogue on the fate of Eastern Ukraine republics, Donetsk and Lugansky, that Russia recognizes as independent.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week said Ukraine had no “serious prospect” of NATO membership. Russia’s and Ukraine’s foreign ministers are due to meet Thursday in Turkey, Reuters reported.

However, “While the contours of the end of this war are becoming visible, that doesn’t necessarily mean the fighting will stop any time soon,” said Arne Petimezas, senior analyst at AFS Group.

Polymetal International
POLY,
+62.36%
,
the Anglo-Russian gold miner, surged 62%. Polymetal said for European Union sanctions purposes, it is not owned by or acting at the direction of a person connected with Russia.

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