Ukraine events barely register

The NZX50 hit an all-time high yesterday as Asia-Pacific investors shrugged off tensions about the future of Ukraine which sent United States and European stocks into a spin.

Craigs Investment Partners said there was a recovery in the New Zealand market which had been hardly dented by concerns elsewhere in the world.

Gold and Oil prices rose as US investors bailed out of shares and into safer securities.

The NZX50 rallied at the close on Monday to a record high but lifted even further to reach 5040 points at 3pm before closing at 5033.

The strength was not restricted to just one company or sector, Mr Timms said.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Air New Zealand, Auckland International Airport and Sky Network TV were all up.

Asked if it meant New Zealand investors were selling up overseas and buying locally-listed shares, Mr Timms believed that was not the case.

''They would get a hiding on currency if they were bringing investments home now. Investors would wait until our dollar dropped in value before selling overseas.''

On Monday, US stocks fell sharply with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping nearly 1%, and the broad-based S&P and the technology rich Nasdaq both dropped about 0.75%.

The selling followed sharp losses in European equity markets.

''It's all about the flight to safety,'' Mr Timms said.

Asian and Australian markets were up, but not as much as the NZX.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the Australian market was the first to move on Monday to news that Ukraine was on the brink of war with Russia in a crisis that began three months ago with civilian protests against President Viktor Yanukovich.

On Monday, President Barack Obama warned the US was planning economic and diplomatic sanctions to ''isolate'' Russia if it did not reverse its incursion into Ukraine.

''Everything has taken a back seat . . . to Russia and the potential impact for worldwide markets. The safest thing for them to do is sell first and ask questions later,'' Mr Timms said.

Russia's intervention in Ukraine drove up crude oil and prices for gold and government debt.

Crude prices rose more than $US2 ($NZ2.40) a barrel, gold futures jumped 2% and prices of top-rated euro zone government bonds rose.

Market volatility indices, a sign of investor apprehensiveness, surged with the Euro Stoxx Volatility index spiking at 30.4%, its largest one-day gain since 2011. The United States CBOE volatility index surged 20% at one point, and ended the session 14.5% higher.

Investors had underestimated the risks of an escalation in Ukraine and the events over the weekend were a wake-up call for the market, Global Equities quantitative sales trading head David Thebault told Reuters.

The rouble traded off about 1.45% after earlier touching record lows against the dollar and the euro.

The Russian central bank lifted its base lending rate by 1.5% to 7% in an unscheduled meeting.

Traders estimated the Russian central bank sold more than $US10 billion yesterday to prop up the rouble.

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