Opposition leaders quit over election defeat

World markets under pressure

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Published : 2014-03-04 20:53
Updated : 2014-03-04 20:53

HONG KONG (AFP) ― Asian markets were mixed Tuesday after the previous day’s global sell-off, but investors remain on edge as they await world leaders’ response to Russia’s decision to send forces into Ukraine.

While the international community anxiously watches events in Eastern Europe, analysts said the fact that the crisis had not worsened had provided a buying opportunity.

The dollar and euro also clawed back some of Monday’s losses against the yen as a certain degree of confidence returned to the market, while oil prices fell back after hitting multi-month highs.

Tokyo rose 0.47 percent, or 69.25 points, to 14,721.48, Sydney added 0.29 percent, or 15.9 points, to close at 5,400.2 and Hong Kong ended 0.70 percent higher, adding 156.96 points to 22,657.63

Shanghai shed 0.18 percent, or 3.76 points, to 2,071.47 after rallying almost one percent on Monday. And Seoul gave up 0.54 percent, or 10.58 points, to 1,954.11.

“The immediate and likely largest impact from the risk-off sentiment due to the crisis in the Ukraine may have already passed,” Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

World shares tumbled on Monday after Russia’s parliament voted to allow President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Crimea, a mainly Russian-speaking peninsula in the southeast of the ex-Soviet state.

In Moscow the MICEX closed down 10.79 percent and the other main Russian market, the RTS, closed down 12.01 percent, while the ruble sank to record lows against the dollar and euro.

However, David Baran, co-CEO of Symphony Financial Partners, a Tokyo-based hedge fund, said: “The Russian-Ukraine standoff may drag on, but a military confrontation with the West is likely well out of the question.

“The economic stakes of the crisis are not that great for the rest of the world, either.”

In foreign exchange trading the dollar rose to 101.82 yen compared with 101.44 yen in New York Monday.

The euro bought $1.3755 and 140.10 yen against $1.3737 and 139.34 yen.

The yen had surged on Monday as investors scurried into safer investments in response to the events in Europe.

Oil prices fell after jumping Monday on fears that Russia, a key supplier to Europe, could switch off its pipeline to the West.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery eased $1.24 cents to $103.68, having touched its highest level since early October.

Brent North Sea crude for April fell $1.60 to $109.60 after rallying to its strongest levels since the end of December.

Gold fetched $1,337.62 an ounce at 0810 GMT compared with $1,347.10 late Monday.

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