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Asian shares mixed, focus on response to Ukraine crisis

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Asian markets mostly rose on bargain-buying on Tuesday after the previous day's global sell-off, but investors remain on edge as they await world leaders' response to Russia's decision to sent forces into Ukraine.

While the international community anxiously watches events in Eastern Europe, analysts said the fact the crisis had not deteriorated had provided a buying opportunity.

The dollar also clawed back some of Monday's losses against the yen as a certain degree of confidence returned to the market, while oil prices edged back a touch after hitting multi-month highs.

Tokyo rose 0.32 percent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.40 percent and Sydney was 0.41 percent higher but Seoul was off 0.23 percent.

Shanghai lost 0.45 percent, succumbing to profit-taking after surging almost one percent Monday.

"The immediate and likely largest impact from the risk-off sentiment due to the crisis in the Ukraine may have already passed," Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

World shares tumbled on Monday after Russia's parliament voted to allow President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Crimea, a mainly Russian-speaking peninsula in the southeast of the ex-Soviet state.

It came in response to the ouster of the pro-Russian government in Kiev of Viktor Yanukovych last month after weeks of public protests in the capital.

The move was met with world condemnation and warnings of possible political and economic isolation, with Washington and the European Union saying they were looking at a range of sanctions.

As Ukraine accused Russia of giving its forces in Crimea an ultimatum to surrender, US President Barack Obama said Moscow was on the "wrong side of history" in the region's biggest crisis since the Cold War.

The United States has also suspended military cooperation Russia.

However, David Baran, co-CEO of Symphony Financial Partners, a Tokyo-based hedge fund, said: "The Russian-Ukraine standoff may drag on, but a military confrontation with the West is likely well out of the question.

"The economic stakes of the crisis are not that great for the rest of the world, either."

In foreign exchange trading the dollar rose to 101.69 yen compared with 101.44 yen in New York Monday.

The euro bought $1.3723 and 139.57 yen against $1.3737 and 139.34 yen.

The yen had surged on Monday as investors scurried into safer investments in response to the events in Europe.

And prices on oil markets dropped after jumping on fears that Russia, a key supplier to Europe, could switch off its pipeline to the West.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, dropped 14 cents to $104.78 in the morning, having touched its highest level since early October. Brent North Sea crude for April also lost four cents to $111.16 after hitting its strongest point since the end of December.

Gold fetched $1,350.30 an ounce at 0230 GMT, compared with $1,347.10 late Monday.

dan/mtp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140303/asian-shares-mixed-focus-response-ukraine-crisis-0