Global Shares Gain as Investors Watch Ukraine Situation

Global Shares Gain as Investors Watch Ukraine Situation

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares rose Tuesday as investors eyed the war in Ukraine and inflationary risks including rising energy costs.

Benchmarks rose in Europe in early trading, while they finished higher in Asia. France's CAC 40 added 0.1% to 6,587.92. Germany's DAX edged up 0.4% to 14,382.47. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3% to 7,467.84. The future for the Dow industrials was 0.3% higher and the S&P 500 future rose 0.2%.

The Russian war on Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia are adding to worries over disruptions to energy supplies for Europe and surging prices that might hinder progress toward economic recoveries from the pandemic.

"With no progress on peace talks, reports are circulating that the EU is setting the table for a Russian oil embargo. Higher energy prices will hugely harm the EU economy," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar surged to a six-year high against the Japanese yen, surpassing the120 yen level and trading at 120.42 yen by late afternoon, up from 119.47 yen.

A growing gap between interest rates in the U.S. and in Japan, where the central bank's key interest rate is minus 0.1%, is pushing the dollar higher against the yen. That's a boon for export manufacturers but raises costs for Japanese imports of key necessities including oil and gas.

The euro cost $1.0991, down from $1.1016.

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped $1.12 to $111.00 a barrel Tuesday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international standard, fell 87 cents to $114.75.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.5% to finish at 27,224.11. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9% to 7,341.10. South Korea's Kospi jumped 0.9% to 2,710.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 3.2% to 21,889.28, while the Shanghai Composite recouped earlier losses, gaining 0.2% to 3,259.86.

Hong Kong-traded shares in e-commerce giant Alibaba Group jumped 11.2% after the company increased a share buyback to $25 billion from $15 billion on Tuesday to prop up a stock price that has fallen by more than half since the ruling Communist Party tightened control over tech industries by launching regulatory crackdowns.

Debt-laden Chinese property developer China Evergrande said Tuesday that it would delay its financial report for last year and also that its property services business was investigating why more than $2 billion of its deposits had been seized by its creditors. The company's shares were suspended from trading on Monday.

In remarks at the National Association of Business Economists, U.S. Fed Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed would raise its benchmark short-term interest rate by a half-point at multiple Fed meetings, if necessary, to slow inflation. The Fed hasn't raised its benchmark rate by a half-point since May 2000.

On Wednesday, the central bank announced a quarter-point rate hike, its first interest rate increase since 2018. Stocks rallied after the announcement and went on to have their best week in more than a year. The central bank is expected to raise rates several more times this year.

Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine added a new wave of global economic uncertainty to the mix, some Fed officials had said the central bank would do better to begin raising rates by a half-point in March.

Given rising risks of a recession, Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities, said he believes the Fed should act cautiously.

"Europe will likely enter recession and with the world experiencing ongoing high energy and food prices, the poor will be disproportionately impacted. And raising interest rates will have zero impact on this war-driven inflation wave," he said.

This week, there isn't much U.S. economic data to give investors a better sense of how companies and investors are dealing with rising inflation.

The Fed's move to raise interest rates had been expected for months as supply chain

The war has added to concerns that inflation could worsen by pushing energy and commodity prices higher. Oil prices are up more than 45% this year and prices for wheat and corn have also surged.

Boeing fell 3.6% on Monday after a 737-800 aircraft operated by China Eastern Airlines crashed in China with 132 people on board. Reports Tuesday said there were no survivors. China Eastern's shares sank 6.2% on Tuesday.