Europe shares rise; Putin says wants no further Ukraine split

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:01am EDT
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By Nigel Stephenson

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares rose on Tuesday and the safe-haven yen pared gains after President Vladimir Putin, while approving plans to make Crimea part of Russia, said his country did not want Ukraine to split further.

Gold, also sought in times of tension, fell and low-risk government bond yields rose.

The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 of top European shares gained nearly 0.5 percent, reversing earlier losses, after stocks rose in Asia. U.S. stock futures also rose, indicating a firmer start on Wall Street.

"He (Putin) is very gracious in his victory ... and the words about respecting Kiev and the Ukraine are what the eurocrats and the markets in general want to hear," said John Woolfitt, head of trading at Galvan.

Earlier, Putin signed an order approving a draft treaty on "adopting the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation". In a speech to a joint session of parliament, he defended a weekend referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region in which voters overwhelmingly said they wanted to join Russia.

After Sunday's vote, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on a small group of Russian and Crimean officials. However, markets' worst fears that the referendum would lead to violence were not realized.

Russia's stock market .MCX, hammered in the run-up to the vote, rose 1.9 percent though the rouble edged down to 36.32 to the dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added about 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average .N225 ended up 0.9 percent, recovering from Monday's six-week closing low.   Continued...

An employee of a foreign exchange trading company looks at monitors in Tokyo March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai