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Ukraine Crisis Leads Asian Equities Lower

Asian stocks fell, pushing the regional index to an almost two-week low, as investors weighed company earnings amid prospects for additional sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Wheat climbed with nickel as the Korean won gained.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.4 percent by 12 p.m. in Tokyo, headed for the lowest close since April 15. Japan’s Topix index slid toward a fourth straight monthly loss, dragged lower as Honda Motor Co. plunged after earnings forecasts missed estimates. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fluctuated and Nasdaq 100 Index contracts were little changed after Internet stocks tumbled April 25. The won strengthened 0.3 percent. Wheat futures advanced a fifth day, rising 0.9 percent, while nickel jumped 1.2 percent in London.

The U.S. and European Union will impose new sanctions on Russia as soon as today amid the detention of international observers by pro-Russian separatists. Russia is one of the world’s biggest nickel producers and is the fifth-largest wheat exporter, followed by Ukraine. The Bank of Japan and U.S. Federal Reserve meet on monetary policy this week while markets await reports on American employment and Chinese manufacturing.

Bloomberg [1]

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