Asia stocks mixed as investors assess Russia-Ukraine tensions

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday, as investors in the region continued to assess the risk from simmering tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.41% to close at 27,122.07, trimming losses after declining more than 1% earlier, while the Topix index dipped 0.36% to 1,924.31. Over in South Korea, the Kospi ended the trading day little changed at 2,744.52.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher as the Shanghai composite gained 0.66% to 3,490.76 and the Shenzhen component climbed 0.274% to 13,459.68. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped about 1%, as of its final hour of trading.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 1.02% lower at 7,221.70.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.45% lower.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis is at a pivotal moment, with Kyiv accusing pro-Moscow separatists of attacking a village near the border.

Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have driven investors toward safe-haven assets such as gold. Spot gold briefly crossed $1,900 an ounce earlier before losing some of those gains, last sitting at $1,892 per ounce.

The Japanese yen, also commonly seen as a safe-haven asset, traded at 115.15 per dollar — still stronger than levels above 115.6 seen against the greenback earlier this week.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 622.24 points to 34,312.03. The S&P 500 shed 2.12% to 4,380.26 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.88% to 13,716.72.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.794 after declining from above 96 earlier this week.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7209, above an earlier low of $0.7175.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.47% to $92.53 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.54% to $91.26 per barrel.

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