World stocks weak as pressure on Russia grows

World stock markets remained on the back foot on Monday as tensions grew between Russia and the West over the downing of an airliner in eastern Ukraine.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Tue 22 Jul 2014, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:46 AM

In Europe, Germany’s DAX was off 0.7 per cent at 9,654.54 and France’s CAC-40 shed 0.4 per cent to 4,315.92. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.3 per cent to 6,732.16.

Futures pointed to losses on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 0.1 per cent at 17,009 and S&P 500 futures shed 0.1 per cent to 1,969.

The shooting down last week of the Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people aboard has rattled markets, which worried about how Western governments, already alarmed by Russia’s support for rebels in Ukraine’s east, would react.

“The more pressure that builds on Russia the more volatile European indices will be,” said strategist Evan Lucas at IG Markets in a report.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.2 per cent to 2,054.48 points and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.3 per cent at 23,387.14. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 per cent to 5,539.90.

Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.1 per cent to 2,018.50 ahead of this week’s release of quarterly economic growth data. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Jakarta rose 0.8 per cent despite tensions over presidential election results due out Tuesday, with both candidates claiming victory. Investors were looking ahead to US earnings reports amid hopes American economic growth is recovering. Results from Apple, Microsoft and Coca Cola were due out Tuesday and Caterpillar on Thursday.

Russian stocks fall

Russian shares slid on Monday to a two-month closing low as Moscow came under fierce international pressure over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and European governments threatened to follow the United States in widening economic sanctions.

Monday’s losses extended a near-eight per cent slump last week provoked by Washington’s imposition of sanctions on large Russian domestic companies, including oil major Rosneft which again fell sharply on Monday.

“There’s no doubt that investors are uneasy - there are a lot of questions out there,” said Gazprombank strategist Erik DePoy.

“It is an emotional time... the (airliner crash) has exacerbated tensions already there.”

Russian stocks are this year’s worst performers among emerging markets, losing 12 per cent in dollar terms compared with a six per cent gain on the benchmark MSCI index as a whole.

The dollar-denominated RTS index fell 2.80 per cent to 1,249.9 points, leaving it down 10 per cent since the beginning of last week.

The rouble-traded MICEX hit its lowest point since mid-May. It closed 2.56 per cent lower at 1,386.1 points, down seven per cent since the start of last week.

Companies targeted by last week’s US sanctions continued to fall. Rosneft closed down 2.52 per cent, bringing its fall since the beginning of last week to eight per cent. Gas producer Novatek, which was also slapped with US sanctions, was down 2.47 per cent, bringing its fall since the beginning of last week to nine per cent.

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