- The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up by 3.3% Friday, a day after the benchmark reached its lowest point since the start of 2022.
- Russia on Thursday launched an attack on Ukraine via land, air and sea, sending shockwaves through financial markets.
- The U.S. and other Western allies have implemented sanctions to limit international trade with Russia and target banks and oligarchs.
European stocks closed higher on Friday, bouncing back from a sharp sell-off as market participants assessed the impact of Western sanctions against Russia after the Kremlin launched an invasion of Ukraine.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up by 3.3%, a stunning comeback just a day after the benchmark reached its lowest point since the start of 2022. The index recorded its best session in over three months.
All major bourses and sectors were in positive territory. Utilities, mining firms and banks led the gains, with each sector climbing more than 4%.
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Russia on Thursday launched an attack on Ukraine via land, air and sea, prompting fears of a devastating humanitarian crisis and sending shockwaves through financial markets.
A series of explosions were heard on Friday morning in the capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has pledged to remain in Kyiv, warned on Friday of "enemy sabotage groups" entering the capital. The crisis in Ukraine is changing rapidly and specific reports from the country are difficult to confirm.
U.S. and Western allies have condemned Russia's assault, coordinating a squeeze on Moscow by implementing sanctions designed to limit international trade with Russia and target banks and oligarchs.
Investors are monitoring the potential for further sanctions against Moscow. The prospect of a decision to target SWIFT international payments system or a coordinated move to hit Russia's oil and gas exports could have broader implications for the global economy.
To be sure, Russia is the world's second-largest producer of natural gas and one of the world's largest oil-producing nations.
On Friday, U.S. stocks rose sharply, erasing earlier losses after reports that Russia was closing in on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Back in Europe, education company Pearson was among the top-performing individual stocks. The London-listed company launched a £350 million ($470 million) share buyback after posting 2021 results in line with recently upgraded forecasts. Shares of Pearson rose over 12% on the news.
Meanwhile, reinsurance firm Swiss Re slumped toward the bottom of the index. Shares of the company slipped more than 4% after a smaller-than-expected 2021 profit.
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- CNBC's Ryan Browne contributed to this report