Investors look past Ukraine, focus on ECB

Mon Sep 1, 2014 3:41pm EDT
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - World markets advanced on Monday despite the conflict in Ukraine, focusing on whether the European Central Bank will announce plans for economic stimulus when it meets this week.

Ukraine reported its forces were under fire from Russian tanks again on Monday, as new signs emerged that the turmoil was damaging the European economy.

Manufacturing output in the euro zone grew at its slowest pace in more than a year and factories reported falling orders as weakness showed up in most corners of the region.

Even so, shares on Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 largely held their ground after markets in Asia shrugged off some disappointing data from China.

U.S. markets were closed for the day, but gains by bonds from the euro zone periphery suggested that appetite for risk remained alive.

Latin American stocks mostly rose, with Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index .BVSP leading gains after an opinion poll showed declining re-election chances for President Dilma Rousseff, accused by investors of being excessively interventionist in the economy.

The euro also recovered to $1.3130 after reaching a one-year low against the dollar overnight.

Geopolitics remained front and center. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on Monday of "direct and undisguised aggression", after warning over the weekend of a possible "full-scale war."   Continued...

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange September 1, 2014.      REUTERS/Remote/Stringer