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Global stocks, Wall St rebound from Ukraine jitters

BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets and Wall Street futures rebounded yesterday from jitters over Western sanctions on Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s authorisation to send soldiers into eastern Ukraine.

London and Frankfurt opened higher. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Oil prices edged higher on unease about possible disruption to Russian supplies.

Global stocks sank on Tuesday after Washington, Britain and the 27-nation European Union imposed sanctions on Russian banks, officials and business leaders.

“Current United States (US) sanctions on Russia are less-than-feared by the market,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report. Alves noted Western governments have more “acute options” including reducing Russia’s access to the SWIFT system for global bank transactions.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.4 per cent to 7,523.96 and Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.7 per cent to 14,798.01. The CAC in Paris added 0.9 per cent to 6,845.85.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.8 per cent and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7 per cent.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 lost one per cent. That put it 10.3 per cent below its January 3 all-time high and into a correction, or a decline of at least 10 per cent but less than 20 per cent.
The Dow lost 1.4 per cent and the Nasdaq composite sank 1.2 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 per cent to 3,489.15 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.6 per cent to 23,660.28.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.5 per cent to 2,719.53 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.6 per cent to 7,205.70.

New Zealand rose after the central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by one-quarter point to one per cent to cool inflation. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said its benchmark rate would be raised to more than three per cent by next year.

India’s Sensex opened up 0.2 per cent at 57,425.96. Singapore and Indonesia gained while Bangkok declined.

Global stocks already had given up some of their gains due to uncertainty about the impact of plans by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to withdraw ultra-low interest rates and other economic stimulus.

Markets were rattled after Putin recognised the independence of rebel-held areas in Ukraine and sent in troops in defiance of US and European pressure.

Wheat prices rose on concern about supplies from Russia and Ukraine being disrupted. Prices of nickel and aluminium, for which Russia is a major supplier, also rose.

European gas prices jumped after Germany withdrew a key document needed for certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 25 cents to USD92.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose USD1.28 on Tuesday to USD92.35. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 30 cents to USD94.15 per barrel in London. It gained USD1.45 the previous session to USD96.84.

The dollar edged down to JPY115.05 from Tuesday’s JPY115.07. The euro gained to USD1.1341 from USD1.1334.