Asian shares fall as Malaysian jet downing hits sentiment

Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:10am EDT
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By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares sagged on Friday and a drop in Treasury bond yields put pressure on the dollar after the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over Ukraine sent investors scurrying into defensive assets.

The shadow was expected to fall over the European opening as well, with financial spreadbetters predicting Britain's FTSE 100 would open down 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX as much as 0.7 percent lower and France's CAC 40 down 0.8 percent.

Some market participants felt European losses would be contained, however.

"Asian markets are off their lows and U.S. index futures seem to be paring some of their losses so the initial sell-off could be short-lived," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a note to clients.

World leaders demanded an international investigation into the shooting down of the airliner over eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed in a tragedy that could further heighten tensions between Russia and the West.

Russia's rouble-traded MICEX dropped 1.9 percent in the first minute after trading began.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent but was still poised to eke out a modest weekly gain.

Japan's Nikkei stock average tumbled 1 percent after dropping by as much as 1.7 percent earlier in the session. The Nikkei still managed a 0.3 percent rise on the week.   Continued...

Pedestrians pass by an electronic board displaying stock prices, which are reflected in a polished stone surface, in Tokyo March 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino