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European stocks dip on Ukraine fears

Thursday, February 27 08:45:55

Escalating political tensions in Ukraine pegged European share markets back today, putting a fresh set of brakes on this month's rally.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which has rebounded in February to approach its highest level since May 2008, was flat at 1,348.42 points in early session trading. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index slipped 0.1 percent.

"There is some nervousness about the tensions in Ukraine," said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered armed forces drills to test combat readiness in western Russia near the border with Ukraine, prompting a U.S. warning that a military intervention would be a "grave mistake."

On Thursday, armed men who witnesses said appeared to be ethnic Russian separatists seized the regional government headquarters and parliament on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. ( C ) Reuters