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Overnight Markets: Wall Street down as Ukraine casts a shadow

Overnight Markets: Wall Street down as Ukraine casts a shadow

Wall Street declined on Monday, led by some of the market's recent best performers like technology and biotech shares, amid concerns the crisis in Ukraine could escalate.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 26 points or 0.16%, to end at 16,277. The S&P 500 dropped nine points or 0.49%, to finish at 1,857. The Nasdaq Composite slid 50 points or 1.18%, to close at 4,226.

Ukraine evacuated its troops from Crimea, essentially yielding the region to Russian forces, which seized a Ukrainian marine base. While few US companies have excessive exposure to the region, investors are concerned about the potential economic fallout from any escalation in tensions.

Meanwhile, leaders of the US, the European Union, China, Japan and others began crisis talks yesterday, seeking to mobilise opposition to Russia’s incursion into Crimea.

In the latest snapshot of the US economy, the Markit Economics preliminary index of US manufacturing decreased to 55.5 in March from 57.1 a month earlier, the London-based group said yesterday.

In corporate news, Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) tumbled 6.7%, with fellow Internet names Facebook Inc (FB.O) down 4.7% and TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP.O) down 3.9%. All three had scored sharp gains in 2013.

The Dow Jones' losses were limited by a rise in Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N), which gained 1.8%, snapping a four-day losing streak.

Herbalife Ltd (HLF.N) jumped 6.7% after saying it would allow three more representatives of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, the company's biggest shareholder, to join its board.

NU Skin Enterprises Inc (NUS.N) shares soared 18.2% after China fined the company $540,000 for illegal product sales and misleading local consumers, a smaller penalty than expected.

In Asia, shares declined on Tuesday in late morning trade as data showed a slowdown in US manufacturing and investors weighed the prospect of a recession in Russia.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.1% to 134 as of 11:09 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix (TPX) index fell 0.1%, while South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1%. Taiwan’s Taiex index gained 0.5%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.2%.

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