March 17, 2014 / 3:08 AM / 5 years ago

Stocks near one-month low as western sanctions on Russia loom

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks traded near a one-month low on Monday and the dollar and German bonds held firm as investors worried about the economic impact of possible western sanctions on Moscow after Crimea voted to separate from Ukraine.

A man is reflected in a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

U.S. Treasury yields ticked higher from a 1-1/2 week low set last week. Friday’s data showing a record drop in foreign governments’ holdings of Treasuries underscored the appetite of emerging countries like Russia for cashing in their holdings to defend their currencies.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said he expects EU ministers to agree sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes against Russian and Crimean individuals following Sunday’s referendum.

Investors are worried that sanctions, which are likely to hit Russia’s already flagging economy, may also weigh on European companies that are exposed to Russia.

“The market to some extent expects sanctions now. It depends on what kind of sanctions and (Russia’s) reaction to the sanctions to see if we can talk of a de-escalation of the crisis or not,” said Piet Lammens, a KBC strategist in Brussels.

Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam said he expected “a long drawn out stand-off.”

The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 countries, was largely steady on the day, trading near a one-month low hit on Friday.

German 10-year Bund yields, the benchmark for euro zone borrowing costs, were flat at 1.55 percent, not far from Friday’s eight-month lows of 1.506 percent.

U.S. Treasury yields stood at 2.6795 percent, having fallen to 2.6450 percent on Friday.

The Fed said its holdings of U.S. securities kept for overseas central banks fell by $106.142 billion in the week ended March 12, to stand at $3.206 trillion, bringing the total on deposit with the Fed to the lowest level since December 2012.

European stocks .FTEU3 and the broader Euro STOXX 600 both rose around 0.7 percent. Emerging stocks .MSCIEF added a quarter percent.

U.S. crude oil fell 0.2 percent to $98.68 a barrel.

The dollar rose 0.1 percent against a basket of six major currencies .DXY.

China’s yuan eased against the dollar after the central bank in Beijing doubled the currency’s daily trading band as part of its commitment to liberalize the market.

Yet the currency moved in a relatively narrow range, reflecting market views that the People’s Bank of China will seek to limit currency swings at a time when markets fret over China’s cooling growth and the quality of corporate debt.

The euro was under pressure ahead of final euro zone inflation data for February at 1000 GMT. A Reuters poll forecast no revision to the annual rate of 0.8 percent reported, but there is a risk it could be revised down, keeping alive concerns about disinflation.

Editing by John Stonestreet

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