The Nikkei Index dropped lower on Friday as tensions in the Ukraine flared up again, but expectations that local investors begin buying up large-cap stocks helped to limit the losses.
Shares on mainland China have risen on Friday, supported by banking and outperforming aviation shares, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dropped on some profit-taking and lacklustre earnings, with investors shifting their focus back to economic factors such as China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) due on Monday.
According to Reuters, European markets, the Euro and German 10-year Bund yields dropped on Thursday after the Ukrainian president said Russian forces had invaded his country.
Reuters reports that U.S. markets slipped lower on Thursday with rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia the focus of investors again, with the U.S. saying it was considering more sanctions, while a trio of economic reports such as GDP showed that the U.S. economy was stronger than initially thought, while jobless claims fell for a second straight week and July pending home sales rose far more than had been expected to an 11-month high.
The Business Day website reports that the JSE All Share Index closed in negative territory on Thursday, with investors selling out of resources-related shares on the back of the continued weakness in the iron spot price, which is seen as a lead indicator to the health of global growth, while implats, the world’s second largest platinum producer, lost 5% on the day after reporting a poor set of full-year results.
The Rand was last trading slightly weaker at R10.6380 against the US Dollar, with the Euro quoted firmer at R14.0176, but the British Pound quoted softer at R17.6141.
The gold price was steady in Singapore trade on Friday, but growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine could boost the precious metal as a safe-haven, while purchases from jewellery makers have also helped gold to recover from a two-month low. Gold was last trading at $1,288.58, with the platinum price quoted at $1,423.40, while the palladium price was last trading at the $892.70 level.
Brent was last trading slightly higher at $102.79 a barrel.