Tensions in Ukraine send world stocks tumbling

|By:, SA News Editor

Global equities are sharply lower as investors head for the safe havens after Russia ups the ante in Crimea with threats of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. warns of economic isolation for Russia.

Russian markets have plunged, with the ruble-based MICEX stock index -8.7% and the dollar-based RTS -10.1%. The USD-RUB is +1.3% at 36.476 rubles.

"Invariably, many will be buying these dips, but on an index level I would stand aside and wait for clarity to develop," says strategist Chris Weston. "You know this market can go lower, very quickly, if geopolitics deteriorates and U.S. data doesn’t show any signs of a pickup."

Chinese shares buck the trend and rise 0.9% amid speculation that the government will unveil further economic reform at an annual policy meeting this week.

Japan -1.3%, Hong Kong -1.5%, India -0.8%.

Euro Stoxx 50 -1.6%, London -1.2%, Paris -1.8%, Frankfurt -2.3%, Milan -1.5%, Madrid -1.6%.

U.S. stock futures: Dow -0.6%. S&P -0.8%. Nasdaq -0.8%

The USD-JPY is -0.5% at ¥101.30, while gold is +1.7% at $1,344.20 and crude oil is +1.5% at $104.12.

10-year Treasury yields are +3 bps at 2.62%.