Global stocks tumble as Ukraine tensions intensify

Mar 3, 2014, 8:42 AM

BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks tumbled Monday as tension over Russia’s military advance into Ukraine and possible sanctions by Western governments intensified.

Oil surged above $104 per barrel on concern Russian supplies might be disrupted. Gold was up 2.1 percent to $1,349.30 an ounce on safe haven buying.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX sank 2.4 percent to 9,455.1 and France’s CAC-40 shed 1.6 percent to 4,337.71. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.3 percent to 6,723.72.

Russia’s RTS stock index plunged 10.5 percent and the broader MICEX index slumped by 12.7 percent. The ruble, already down nearly 10 percent this year, fell below 50 to the euro for the first time. It was trading below 36.4 to the dollar, also a record.

Traders were jittery over warnings by Washington and other governments that Moscow, an oil exporter, might face sanctions after it seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

“Economic war with Russia, if this escalates, would take a toll on the global economy,” said Carl B. Weinberg of High Frequency Economics in a report.

Many countries depend on imported oil and gas, making them sensitive to any turmoil that might disrupt supplies.

On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes were off by an unusually large 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.3 percent to 14,652.23 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.5 percent to 22,500.67. Taipei, Seoul, Sydney and Singapore also fell.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index bucked the trend, adding 0.9 percent to 2,075.23 despite a survey showing manufacturing weakened in February and employers cut jobs.

Taiwan’s Taiex lost 0.4 percent to 8,601.98 and Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.8 percent to 1,964.69. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4 percent to 5,384.30. Manila and Jakarta also fell.

Monday’s losses were a reverse from last week’s gains in many global markets.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was up $1.54 to $104.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 19 cents in the previous session to close at $102.59.

In currency markets, the euro rose to $1.3777 from $1.3767 late Friday. The dollar fell to 101.37 yen from 101.40 yen.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Global stocks tumble as Ukraine tensions intensify