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World markets hit by Ukraine tension

Thursday, August 28 17:21:07

Stock markets around the world fell today after Ukraine said Russia moved more troops into the country, escalating the risk of the region's crisis spreading, as nervous investors shifted money into gold and U.S and German government bonds.

The euro hit a 21-month low against the Swiss franc and fell against the yen as worries about intensified fighting between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists drove investors to seek safe-haven currencies.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Russian forces had entered Ukraine, and he convened his security and defense council to decide how to respond.

"Geopolitics is driving the market again, and this latest escalation in Ukraine comes as European stocks were ripe for a pull-back," said Alexandre Baradez, chief market analyst at IG France.

The tensions put riskier assets firmly under pressure with the Standard and Poor's 500 index falling below the 2,000 threshold following a record close on Wednesday.

In midday U.S. trading, The Dow Jones industrial average fell 52.24 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,069.77, the S and P 500 shed 3.99 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,996.13 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 10.15 points, or 0.22 percent, to 4,559.47.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index snapped its three-day winning streak, falling 0.7 percent at 1,369.15 points. Tokyo's Nikkei closed down 0.5 percent at 15,459.86.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, fell 1.81 points or 0.42 percent, to 430.44.

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