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Japan’s Nikkei falls more than 2% as investors monitor Ukraine tensions; oil rises over 1%

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan looked set for a lower start as investors in Asia monitor developments from the Covid situation in Hong Kong to tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,010 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,380. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27,696.08.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was flat in morning trade.

Developments surrounding Russia-Ukraine tensions will continue to be monitored by investors. Fears of a Russia attack on Ukraine sent stocks on Wall Street plunging Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite falling nearly 3%.

Investors in Asia will also watch developments in Hong Kong’s Covid situation, as the city’s medical capacity becomes reportedly stretched following a recent spike in infections. Over the weekend, Hong Kong’s chief secretary announced that mainland China will assist the city in areas such as testing and quarantine facilities.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.027 — largely holding on to gains following its recent recovery from around the 95.7 level.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.50 per dollar, having strengthened sharply from above 116 against the greenback late last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7143, off levels above $0.72 seen last week.

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