Asian shares steadied near seven-year highs on Thursday, underpinned by hopes of a ceasefire in Ukraine, although a cautious mood prevailed for now ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the session. Spreadbetters expected a generally lower start for Europe, forecasting Britain’s FTSE would open flat, Germany’s DAX down as much as 0.1 percent and France’s CAX down 0.2 percent.
“Despite crossed fingers that the ECB will start up the printing presses and signs that Putin has had his fill in Ukraine, both have a history of disappointing,” Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a note to clients. Global shares had rallied on Wednesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin, after speaking to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko by phone, said he believed Kiev and pro-Russian separatists could reach agreement at talks in Minsk on Friday.
While Poroshenko also indicated the conversation with Putin had injected some momentum into efforts to end the Ukraine conflict, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk dismissed the plan as a “deception”. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1 percent on Thursday after a brief rise to a seven-year high while Japan’s Nikkei average shed 0.3 percent from seven-month highs the previous day.
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