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European markets pull back; Russian convoy appears to head for Kyiv; Stoxx 600 down 1%

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LONDON — European stocks are expected to open lower on Tuesday amid reports that a significant armored Russian convoy is heading towards Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 46 points lower at 7,414, Germany’s DAX 129 point lower at 14,351, France’s CAC 40 down 63 points at 6,600 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 174 points lower at 25,175, according to data from IG.

Russia appears to have upped the ante in its invasion of Ukraine overnight with reports and satellite imagery emerging of a long convoy, some 40 miles (65km) long, of Russian military vehicles heading towards Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

The satellite images were taken by Maxar Technologies on Monday and show a convoy of armored trucks travelling sometimes two or three vehicles abreast on the road. Official sources have not confirmed the convoy, however.

Other images from Maxar suggest additional military activity in southern Belarus, which borders Ukraine and is an ally of Russia, with ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units seen in the images. Again, official sources have not confirmed whether these units are preparing to join Russian forces in an assault on Ukraine. On Monday there were unconfirmed reports that Belarus could be preparing to help Russia’s invasion.

Asia-Pacific markets mostly rose Tuesday while U.S. stock futures also rose in overnight trading before the first trading session of March as investors continue to monitor the fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

Earnings in Europe come from Bayer, Covestro, HelloFresh and Zalando. Data releases include German retail sales for January and final euro zone manufacturing activity data for February.

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