New York: US markets were essentially flat in premarket trading while oil prices continued to climb as Russian forces bombarded Ukraine’s second-largest city and besieged two ports.
The economic fallout from the Russian invasion expanded, with Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Ratings cutting Russia’s credit rating.
They said the invasion and Western sanctions have hurt Moscow’s ability to repay debts and raised risks for the economy and stability.
On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average wavered between slight gains and losses a couple of hours before the market opens in New York.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London and Frankfurt’s DAX each lost 0.6 per cent while the CAC in Paris slipped 0.2 per cent.
The London Stock Exchange said it had suspended trading in shares of 27 companies with links to Russia, including some of the biggest in energy and steel, such as Lukoil, Gazprom, Sberbank, Rosneft and Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works.
In a notice, the exchange said the suspensions reflected recent financial sanctions and were made in light of market conditions and in order to maintain orderly markets.
Shares in those companies plunged with the start of Russia’s invasion last week.
Global stock benchmark provider MSCI said it was removing Russian stocks from indexes widely tracked by fund managers, describing the Russian equity market is uninvestable.
Trading on the Moscow exchange remained closed Thursday apart from a limited variety of trades rubles and in derivatives and commodities.
In currency markets, Russia’s ruble lost another 15 per cent against the US dollar and worth less than 1 cent.