Russia-West tensions weigh on stocks, buoy oil prices

Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:33am EDT
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By Sujata Rao

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks steadied above 10-day lows on Monday, with investors holding back from making aggressive bets as tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine showed no sign of easing.

MSCI's world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was flat after falling 0.7 percent on Friday.

Markets, especially in Asia, had earlier been hit by signals that Chinese authorities are unlikely to support the economy with more stimulus, but European stocks drew support from merger moves and upbeat results in the pharmaceutical sector.

The tensions over Ukraine boosted Brent oil prices above $110 a barrel, near a seven-week high, and prompted some investors to seek safety in assets such as the yen, which was close to one-week highs against the dollar.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced new sanctions against some Russians on Monday to stop President Vladimir Putin from fomenting the rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Obama said he was holding broader measures against Russia's economy "in reserve". The European Union is expected to add targets to its Russia sanctions list later.

Pro-Moscow rebels have seized public buildings in Ukraine's east and are holding several international monitors hostage in the city of Slavyansk.

"Events in the Ukraine are expected once again to take center stage this week," said Markus Huber, senior analyst at Peregrine & Black.   Continued...

A man smokes a cigarette outside The London Stock Exchange November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh