World share markets rose on Thursday, supported by hopes diplomatic efforts would cool the crisis in Ukraine, while the euro advanced to its highest level of the year after the European Central Bank signaled its economy needs no additional stimulus.
The latest developments in Ukraine, while still worrisome, have not caused investors to back away from stocks and risky investments on a global scale, as occurred on Monday.
“The markets have adopted to this fluid situation,” said Gerardo Rodriguez, senior investment strategist for BlackRock’s Emerging Markets group in New York.
MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 countries, was up 0.6 per cent, and the MSCI emerging market index rose 1.2 per cent.
Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis in the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.
US President Barack Obama took steps to punish those involved in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
European central bankers offset the geopolitical worries when, as expected, they left interest rates unchanged but offered no signal the ECB will implement unconventional measures such as bond purchases to avert the threat of excessively low inflation and underpin a fragile recovery.
The ECB’s show of restraint on monetary stimulus bolstered the euro, boosting it to $1.3852, the highest since late December, according to Reuters data.
The single currency bought 142.58 yen, up 1.5 per cent from late on Wednesday but still below the high of 145.09 set on January 1.
European stocks were also supported by the ECB’s decision. The FTSEurofirst 300 index tracking Europe’s top shares was steady at 1,344.88.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 82.04 points, or 0.50 per cent, at 16,442.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 7.15 points at 1,880.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.17 points at 4,365.14.
Earlier, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed up 1.6 per cent.
Russian shares were a notable exception, falling nearly 1 per cent, while the rouble weakened 0.4 per cent against the US dollar at 36.1740 roubles. Due to the resilience in stock prices, investors further pared their holdings in less-risky US and German government bonds.
The yield on US 10-year Treasuries rose 4 basis points to 2.74 per cent, while the yield on 10-year bonds gained 5 basis points to 1.65 per cent.