Ukraine tensions roil markets, Amazon disappoints

Global stocks tumble amid Ukraine tensions and disappointing earnings from Amazon

Associated Press
Ukraine tensions roil markets, Amazon disappoints

View photo

A Ukrainian police officer stands guard at a checkpoint, with Ukrainian flags, that was attacked by unknown men outside the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, Friday, April 25, 2014. In southeastern Ukraine, seven people were injured early Friday by a blast at a checkpoint set up by local authorities and pro-Ukraine activists outside the Black Sea port of Odessa. Local police spokesman Volodymyr Shablienko said unknown men had thrown a grenade at the checkpoint. The Odessa region has so far not been affected by the pro-Russian insurgency. (AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov)

LONDON (AP) -- Fears of a further escalation in Ukraine and a disappointing earnings statement from Amazon roiled global markets Friday.

Stocks around the world fell sharply as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the West of plotting to control Ukraine , while U.S. President Barack Obama said he will call key European leaders later Friday to discuss what's happened since a deal was reached last week in Geneva to de-escalate the crisis. A further round of sanctions on Moscow appears to be on the table.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's also downgraded its view on Russia's debt to one notch above so-called junk status and warned that the country "could see additional significant outflows of both domestic and foreign capital from the Russian economy."

The move further weighed on Russian markets and was followed soon by a surprise interest rate increase by the country's central bank. The MICEX index in Moscow was down 1.3 percent while the ruble was 0.8 percent lower against the dollar, at 36.03 rubles per dollar.

"While there may be an element of profit taking driving markets lower today, I think a bigger contributing factor is the recent flare up in eastern Ukraine and the war of words now taking place between the U.S. and Russia," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari. "We've already seen on numerous occasions what impact this has had on the markets, with even the slightest hint of Russian intervention prompting a flight for safety among investors."

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.4 percent at 6,677 while Germany's DAX fell 1.6 percent at 9,423. The CAC-40 in France was down 0.7 percent at 4,448.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.7 percent at 16,395 while the broader S&P 500 index fell 0.5 percent at 1,869. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which has led most sell-offs over recent weeks, underperformed, trading 1 percent lower at 4,110 as Amazon stock fell 8 percent after it warned that spending on investments will likely lead to an operating loss in the second quarter.

Earlier in Asia, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1 percent to 2,036.52 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.4 percent to 22,238.06. Tokyo bucked the regional trend. Its Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to 14,429.26, rebounding after losing 1 percent a day earlier after talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama failed to produce a trade agreement.

In currency markets, trading was fairly muted, with the euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3841. However, oil prices took a hit from the worries over Ukraine and a barrel of benchmark New York crude was down $1.19 at $100.78.

View Comments (0)