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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as Russia-Ukraine tensions keep investors cautious

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were lower in Tuesday morning trade as investors in the region continue to monitor tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Japanese stocks shed earlier gains and fell into negative territory, with the Nikkei 225 down 0.25% while the Topix index declined 0.14%.

Japan’s economy expanded 5.4% on an annualized basis in the final quarter of 2021, according to government data released Tuesday. Still, the quarterly annualized gross domestic product growth was below a median market forecast for a 5.8% gain, according to Reuters.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.38% while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia declined 0.57%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.16% lower.

Global markets have been kept on edge amid fears of a Russian attack on Ukraine, with the U.S. closing its embassy in Kyiv.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 171.89 points to 34,566.17 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.38% to 4,401.67. The Nasdaq Composite was little changed at 13,790.92.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.374 following its bounce last week from levels below 95.5.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.43 per dollar, weaker than levels below 115.2 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7126, struggling to recover after last week’s decline from above $0.72.

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