According to Karl Nehammer, the Austrian chancellor, Vladimir Putin said that he is “confident” prisoner swaps for Ukrainian soldiers will occur soon.

Nehammer spoke to the Russian president for 45 minutes in a “serious and direct” telephone conversation on Friday. He expressed hope that Moscow would relax its naval blockade of the Black Sea, which could help avoid a global food crisis.

Nehammer stated that Putin had given positive signals and allowed a solution to the problem of Ukrainian export through the Black Sea Seaports. This was according to an Austrian chancellery statement.

“Putin assured me that he will intensify his efforts to facilitate prisoner exchanges; he is certain that such exchanges can be made again soon.” Putin assured me that prisoners of war will be freed from interrogation by the International Red Cross.

Last month, Nehammer became the first western leader after Russia invaded its neighbor in February.

To the dismay of some western allies, the chancellor tried to use Austria’s history of friendly relations with Moscow and its historical neutrality to broker an ending to the conflict.

The Kremlin issued a statement confirming that it had spoken with Austria about safe food shipping through the Black Sea, but did not mention exchanging prisoners of war.

Wall Street stocks rose for the second day due to fresh signs that inflation is at an all-time low and that consumer spending in the largest economy of the world is still high.

Blue-chip S&P 500 share market index gained 1.5 percent in New York morning trading. This puts it on track to post its first weekly gain in eight consecutive weeks and snap its longest losing streak ever since 2001.

Although the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite rose 2.3%, it was still more than 25% below its all-time high from last November.

Core personal consumption expenditures price index (a measure of underlying inflation favoured in the Federal Reserve) rose by 4.9 percent in April, down from 5.2 percent in March.

This report also shows that overall consumer spending rose by 0.9 percent in April compared to the previous month. However, investors remain skeptical about the longevity of the stock market rally.

Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen is chief investment officer at NN Investment Partners. He stated that central banks are raising rates, inflation, and war in Ukraine and China are slowing down. He said, “We have had a string of poor weekly performances so it’s not surprising to see the occasional bounce.”

He said, “But it’s pretty clear that there’s a very large psychological and emotional factor running through the markets,” adding, “and the movements are driven more by sentiment than any change to the fundamental picture.”