- Parts of Russian special forces unit spotted in Ukraine - RIA Novosti
- Ukraine says Russian troops have entered the country - Bloomberg
- Italian and German equities bear brunt of selling
FTSE 100: -0.65%
CAC 40: -0.88%
FTSE MIB: -2.12%
IBEX 35: -0.79%
Stoxx 600: -0.99%
European stocks took a sharp turn for the worse in afternoon trading as reports began to filter in that parts of Russia's elite 45th Guards airborne regiment had been spotted in eastern Ukraine.
More specifically, the above is an elite Spetsnaz reconnaissance unit.
Information is scarce but the deployment of such units could, in a worst-case scenario, be a first indication that other more conventional units might soon follow.
On the other hand, it could be that they are being used to help pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine in a more limited manner, gathering information on Ukraine's anti-terrorist operation which began this morning.
Not surprisingly, German and Italian equities bore the brunt of selling given those two countries' energy dependency on Russia.
Ukraine begins 'anti-terrorist' operation
German investor confidence fell for a fourth month in April.
The ZEW Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor an analyst expectations, which aims to forecast economic developments six months in advance, dropped to 43.2 from 46.6 in March, well below analysts' expectations of 45.
Not surprisingly, the Ukraine crisis was foremost on investors' minds, the results of the survey showed.
SABMiller, Banca Monte
From a sector standpoint, and within the DJ Stoxx 600, the worst performing industrial groups now are: Basic resources (-2.43%), Automobiles and Aparts (-2.36%) and Banks (-1.70%).
SABMiller declined as the world's second-biggest brewer said its 39.6% holding in hotel and casino operator Tsogo Sun is not a core part of its operations.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA dropped as Italy's third-largest bank said it may increase the size of a planned share sale to reimburse part of a €4.1bn government bailout.
Siemens AG retreated the Chief Executive of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, said German, French and Italian businesses, including the engineering firm, will be hurt by sanctions against Russia.
Osram Licht AG gained as Citigroup recommended investors buy shares
in the lighting manufacturer that spun off from Siemens.
L'Oreal advanced as the world's largest cosmetics maker posted a rise in first-quarter revenue.
Roche Holding edged higher as the world's biggest manufacturer of cancer drugs reported first-quarter sales that met analysts' estimates.
Other asset classes little changed
The euro fell 0.10% to $1.3806.
Brent crude futures dipped 0.267% to $108.78 per barrel, according to the ICE.