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Posted: Tuesday, March 4th 2014 at 6:40am

Easing of Ukraine tensions shores up global markets

By The Associated Press
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LONDON (AP) -- An apparent easing in tensions in the Ukrainian crisis has helped buoy the mood in financial markets Tuesday, prompting a large unwind of the sizeable moves witnessed the previous session.

Stock markets in Europe, including in Moscow and Asia, have clawed back a large chunk of Monday's losses, while oil, gold, wheat and the Japanese yen have given back some of their gains.

The turnaround came after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's eastern border to return to their bases. The mood was further bolstered when Putin said the situation in Ukraine region of Crimea did not require military action. He said the recent moves in the peninsula that have effectively seen Russia take over the peninsula were a humanitarian response to the crisis in Ukraine, and that Russian military involvement would be a last resort.

"Confidence in equity markets has been restored as the standoff between Ukraine and Russia is no longer on red alert," said David Madden, market analyst at IG.

Following on from gains in Asia, European markets have recovered their poise. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 1.6 percent at 6,812 while the CAC-40 in France rose 2.1 percent to 4,383. Germany's DAX, which underperformed the other two on Monday, was 1.8 percent higher at 9,531.

Russia's RTS index, which slumped 12 percent on Monday amid fears that the crisis would escalate and prompt Western powers to impose sanctions on Moscow, recovered too. It was trading 5.2 percent higher Tuesday.

Wall Street was likewise poised for a recovery, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 1 percent.

Elsewhere, many of the assets that were bid up Monday in the wake of a weekend of developments in Ukraine, were in retreat. The benchmark New York crude oil rate was down 1 percent at $103.84 a barrel, while an ounce of gold fell 0.8 percent to $1,336.

However, tensions remain high, particularly in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, as Putin's order does not appear to have had any bearing on troops there.

"As such, markets will remain sensitive to Ukraine-related headlines and further bouts of risk aversion are likely," said Adam Cole, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Developments in Ukraine have dominated the start of what is likely to be a busy week on the economic news front. As well as a raft of U.S. economic data that culminates with Friday's nonfarm payrolls figures for February, investors have the monthly policy meeting from the European Central Bank to monitor.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.5 percent to 14,721.48 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent to 22,657.63. The Sensex in India gained 1.2 percent to 21,187.89 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose by 0.3 percent to 5,400.20.
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