“There’s definitely concern about the Russia-Ukraine thunderstorm rolling back into the market,” Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $150 billion, said in a telephone interview. “That in itself is causing some uncertainty among investors. The economy is continuing to gradually improve. We’ve had very good market performance over the last several weeks in spite of great uncertainty on the geopolitical front.”
The dollar rose to a six-week high against the yen, increasing 0.3% to 103.35 yen. The Chinese yuan posted its biggest weekly gain since October on speculation the central bank has ceased engineering a decline in the currency to discourage one-way appreciation bets.
Russia’s Micex Index has declined 7.3% this year. The ruble weakened 0.7% to 42.7093 against Bank Rossii’s target basket of dollars and euros, heading for a 1.6% decline for the week.
Russian stocks are headed for their worst week since President Vladimir Putin cracked down on protesters following his election in May 2012. Putin’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region, like the imprisonment of demonstrators following his return to the presidency two years ago, is sparking investor concern that Russia’s economic growth will falter as the U.S. and Europe threaten the country with sanctions.
President Barack Obama’s administration restricted visas for Ukrainian and Russian officials whom it said threaten the former Soviet republic’s sovereignty. Lawmakers in Ukraine’s Crimea region called a referendum to return the Black Sea peninsula to Russian control.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong rose 0.4%, trimming this week’s decline to 1.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1 percent as investors weighed reform prospects at a legislative meeting.
Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. won’t make an interest payment in full by the deadline, the company’s vice president Liu Tielong said. The company blamed the failure of an agreement to sell a power station to Greece for its failure to meet interest payments, state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported, citing an unidentified person at Chaori.
The first onshore default comes as China’s benchmark rate for loans between lenders was set for the biggest weekly drop this year after the central bank scaled back cash withdrawals in its money-market operations.
Copper futures for delivery in May slid 4.1% to $3.0865 a pound in New York.
India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index climbed 3.8% this week, the most since April. The country’s current-account deficit dropped to a four-year low in the fourth quarter, the Reserve Bank of India said March 5.
Indonesia’s rupiah rose to the highest since November and is 1.5% stronger this week, making it the best performing Asian currency versus the dollar in the last five days. India’s rupee is on track for a 1.1% weekly gain.