Gold and energy commodities are up today. So are safe haven currencies such as the yen.
The Russian ruble is down. So is the euro and emerging market currencies and markets are taking a licking.
Pretty much what you’d expect when the crisis in the Ukraine has escalated to include a threat of armed conflict between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers
The biggest move has been in the share prices of energy companies that might benefit if natural gas prices soar due to a cut-off in gas exports from Russia across the Ukraine and into Western Europe.
For example, shares of Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil (STO) are up 2.35% today as of 2 p.m. New York time.
Shares of energy companies without any near-term way to take advantage of any stoppage were off with Chesapeake Energy (CHK) down 1.2% and France’s Total (TOT) off 2.31%.
The oil benchmark price of the West Texas Intermediate climbed 1.77%. The Brent benchmark rose 1.6%.
Most of the moves I’m seeing today aren’t specific to the crisis but are instead the standard response of traders to heightened risk. For example, the safe haven yen rose to 101.4 to the U.S. dollar. The euro is off 0.43% against the dollar. Gold is up 2.15%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) is down 1.89%.
The ruble is the big crisis specific loser, down 1.4% today against a basket of currencies—despite an increase in benchmark interest rates from the Russian central bank. That continues the Russian currency’s slide in 2014. The ruble is now down more than 10% for 2014
The slow response of U.S. and EuroZone diplomats to the crisis with lots of talking and not much action (not necessarily a bad thing if the alternative is shoot first and talk later) suggests that this crisis will drag on for a while. An “emergency” meeting of EuroZone leaders isn’t scheduled to take place until Thursday, March 6.
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