Twitter <TWTR.N> shares tumbled 17.8 percent to $31.85 after the
expiration of a six-month lock-up period that had restricted the
sale of about 82 percent of the firm's outstanding stock.
Ukraine is experiencing its deadliest week since a separatist
uprising began in its mainly Russian-speaking eastern region,
leaving less room for peace efforts.
European shares <.FTEU3> fell 0.35 percent and European tech stocks
<.SX8P> also fell 0.35 percent towards three-month lows, heading for
their first five-day losing streak in seven month.
France's No. 2 listed bank Societe Generale <SOGN.PA> booked a 525
million euro ($731 million) writedown on the value of its Russian
unit Rosbank, blaming heightened uncertainty and a decline in the
Russian rouble. Its shares fell 2 percent.
Danish brewer Carlsberg <CARLb.CO>, one of Europe's blue-chips with
the highest exposure to Russia, fell 2.2 percent as it partly blamed
currency volatility in Russia for a fall in its first-quarter
The dollar, which has lost about 0.5 percent against the yen so far
this week, weakened to 101.40 yen, its lowest since April 14.
In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
<.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.7 percent on Wednesday after touching its
lowest point since April 2.
The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> index fell 1.4 percent to a one-week
low on Tuesday. The S&P 500 <.SPX> fell 0.9 percent but remains
within striking distance of a record high hit a month ago.
Easy monetary policy in the developed world is causing market
imbalances, analysts said.
"It looks like we're mirroring the past cycles - addressing
over-indebtedness problems with more debt, printing money and
pushing up asset prices," said Iain Stewart, investment manager at
Newton Investment Management.
"Almost certainty we will see bubbles."
The U.S. currency lost ground against the euro as well as the yen.
The common currency was boosted on Tuesday by upbeat PMI readings in
Spain and Italy.
The euro was at $1.3925 on Wednesday, hovering within distance of an
eight-week high of $1.3952 hit on Tuesday.
The U.S. dollar index <.DXY>, which measures the greenback against
six major currencies, stood at 79.13 after falling on Tuesday to
79.06, its lowest in more than six months.
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Immediate focus for the dollar was on U.S. Federal Reserve Chair
Janet Yellen's congressional testimony later in Wednesday's session.
Yellen is widely expected to maintain a dovish policy stance, doing
little to arrest the recent fall of the dollar, which has shown a
limited response to positive economic data.
"Fed Chair Yellen is likely to dodge any questions pertaining to the
specific timing of interest rate rises, given the furor after her
suggestion at a press conference in March that rates might rise
about six months after asset purchases end," analysts at Capital
Economics wrote in a note to clients.
Expectations that the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates
soon in addition to safe-haven bids have kept U.S. Treasury yields
low, hurting the dollar.
The U.S. Treasury 10-year note yielded 2.579 percent, after the
yield touched a three-month trough of 2.57 percent on Friday.
German Bund futures rose 17 ticks to 144.84, and peripheral debt
yields were trading around multi-year or record lows.
In the commodities markets, oil rose after crude stocks decreased,
defying expectations for an increase, with geopolitical risks
helping put a floor under prices. <O/R>
U.S. crude was up 0.7 percent at $100.20 a barrel.
Nickel hovered near a 15-month high as worries persisted about
supply from major producers Russia and Indonesia, while stainless
steel buyers also fuelled the rally.
Safe-haven gold rose to $1,312.20 an ounce, approaching three-week
(Additional reporting by Natsuko Waki in London and Shinichi
Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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