European stocks rally as Ukraine’s president cools to NATO membership

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

The Stoxx Europe 600
SXXP,
+2.83%
rose 2.2% to 424.28, helped by a rally in the beleaguered banking sector.

Gainers included BNP Paribas
BNP,
+7.92%,
Adidas
ADS,
+10.33%
and Deutsche Post
DPW,
+7.96%.
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,
+4.67%
surged 3.5%, the French CAC 40
PX1,
+4.33%
surged 3.1% and the U.K. FTSE 100
UKX,
+1.43%
gained 2.1%.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YM00,
+1.42%
rose 323 points.

Volodymr Zelensky told ABC News 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.

“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,
+41.27%,
the Anglo-Russian gold miner, surged 37%. Polymetal said for European Union sanctions purposes, it is not owned by or acting at the direction of a person connected with Russia.