Markets Move on War by Another Name in Ukraine

08/28/2014 3:59 pm EST

Focus: GLOBAL

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Geopolitical events often impact the markets and the crisis that just escalated between Russia and the Ukraine is no exception, says MoneyShow’s Jim Jubak, who thinks this currency may face continued downward pressure as a result.

Everything is in motion this morning as the conflict in Ukraine moved toward an all-out, but thoroughly denied, invasion of the east of the country by Russian troops, tanks, and artillery. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has apparently decided that escalation of Russian involvement is preferable to accepting a defeat of pro-Russian separatists. European and US officials are burning up the wires today and the expectation is for another round of sanctions cutting even deeper into a stagnant Russian economy with an announcement perhaps as early as tomorrow after an emergency meeting of NATO.

Market movements are pretty much what you’d expect with tensions climbing. US stocks are slightly lower—the Standard & Poor’s 500 is off 0.11%—and European equities have fallen more strongly—the German DAX is down 1.12%.

The Japanese yen was up slightly against the US dollar to 103.76 on the currency’s traditional safe haven reputation. The Russian ruble, no surprise, fell 1.6% to a six-month low and the Brazilian real dropped as traders decided that the recent rally had run ahead of the economy. News that US GDP had increased at a revised 4.2% annual rate in the second quarter—up from a 4% first read—helped push the yield on the 10-year US Treasury down to 2.33%.

The biggest effect is likely to be felt in Europe where the European Central Bank will now hold its September 4 meeting against a backdrop of rising tensions that will further slow Euro zone economies. This puts increased pressure on the central bank to start a program of asset purchases sooner rather than later. News reports this morning say that the European Central Bank has hired BlackRock (BLK), the world’s largest money manager, to advise on the design and implementation of a program for buying asset-backed securities. I expect to see continued downward pressure on the euro.

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