Asia-Pacific shares slide as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalate

SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Tuesday morning trade as tensions surrounding Russia and Ukraine continue to keep investors on edge.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan momentarily dropped 2% in morning trade before recovering partially from some of those losses, last down 1.59% while the Topix index slipped 1.29%. In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.98%.

Australia’s S & P / ASX 200 dropped 1.05% in morning trade.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.37% lower.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, following a Monday announcement that he would recognize their independence.

After that development, the White House responded, with US President Joe Biden ordering sanctions against the separatist regions of Ukraine.

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The US markets were closed for a holiday on Monday, though moves in stock futures Monday night stateside pointed to losses ahead for Wall Street at the Tuesday open.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 549 points, or 1.61%. S&P 500 futures fell 1.74% while Nasdaq-100 futures slipped 2.45%.

Currencies

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96,078 following a recent bounce from below 95.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.68 per dollar, largely holding on to gains as compared to levels above 115.6 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $ 0.7194, off levels above $ 0.72 seen recently.

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