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Hong Kong’s Hang Seng leads losses in Asia as Russia-Ukraine tensions escalate; oil prices jump

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Tuesday trade as tensions surrounding Russia and Ukraine continue to keep investors on edge.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses regionally, falling 3.11% in afternoon trade.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba dropped 3.74% following a Bloomberg report that Chinese authorities have told banks and state firms to report exposure to Ant Group.

Other Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech shares also declined, with Tencent falling 1.98% and Meituan plunging 5.82%. The Hang Seng Tech index slipped 2.84%.

The Shanghai composite in mainland China dipped 1.36% and the Shenzhen component dropped 1.655%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan also saw sizable losses, last down 1.94% while the Topix index slipped 1.67%. In South Korea, the Kospi fell 1.67%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.27%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 1.9% lower.

Investors will continue to monitor geopolitical tensions, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, following a Monday announcement that he would recognize their independence.

After that development, the White House responded, with U.S. President Joe Biden ordering sanctions against the separatist regions of Ukraine.

Oil prices, stocks surge

Oil prices jumped in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.46% to $96.78 per barrel. U.S. crude futures soared 3.06% to $93.86 per barrel.

Shares of oil firms also rose in Tuesday trade, with Beach Energy in Australia gaining 3.04% while Santos advanced 3.06%. In Japan, shares of Japan Petroleum Exploration jumped 2.76%.

The U.S. markets were closed for a holiday on Monday, though moves in stock futures Monday night stateside pointed to losses ahead for Wall Street at the Tuesday open.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 416 points, or 1.22%. S&P 500 futures fell 1.59% while Nasdaq-100 futures slipped 2.12%.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.192 following a recent bounce from below 95.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.69 per dollar, largely holding on to gains as compared to levels above 115.6 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7193, off levels above $0.72 seen recently.

S&P 500 closes in correction territory, Dow drops 480 points as Russia-Ukraine conflict intensifies

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