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AKIPRESS.COM - Japanese and Chinese stocks tumbled on Monday in a cautious session for Asian equities amid increasing tension in Ukraine, which kept risk appetite in check and helped bolster the safe-haven yen, Reuters reported.
European shares were expected to open slightly higher even in the face of the rising tensions, with spreadbetters predicting Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to open as much as 0.15 percent higher, Germany's DAX .GDAXI to gain 0.12 percent and France's CAC 40 .FCHI to rise 0.14 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS oscillated between positive and negative territory, and was last trading flat.
The Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC began the week with a fourth straight day of losses, down 1.5 percent, after state media reported President Xi Jinping saying at a politburo meeting on Friday that current fiscal and monetary policies would basically remain unchanged.
A stronger yen drove Japan's Nikkei stock average .N225 down 1 percent, despite data released before the market opened showing retail sales rose in March at their fastest pace in 17 years ahead of a sales tax hike.
Federal Reserve policymakers will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and are expected to unanimously decide to continue tapering the central bank's massive bond-buying stimulus for now. Policymakers were expected to hotly debate future actions, such as what economic conditions would set the stage for a rate hike.
The Bank of Japan will release new economic projections following its meeting on Wednesday, at which it is expected to stand pat on policy.
On Wall Street on Friday, the three main U.S. stock indexes all fell for both the session and the week, as disappointing earnings from Amazon and Ford on Thursday and the rising Ukraine tensions sapped sentiment.
The dollar was steady on the day at 102.22 yen, pulling away from a session low of 102.04 yen but still not far from a one-week trough of 101.96 yen hit on Friday. The euro dipped about 0.1 percent to 141.29 yen.
Against the greenback, the euro edged down about 0.1 percent to $1.3823 after it added 0.2 percent last week. That helped the dollar index .DXY gain nearly 0.1 percent to 79.812, after it lost 0.1 percent last week.
In commodities trading, the Ukraine unrest helped push gold to $1,306.11 an ounce, its highest since April 16, though it was last down slightly at $1,301.30.
Copper climbed 0.1 percent to $6,769.50 a metric ton (1.1023 tons) after touching its highest in seven weeks on Monday on tight Chinese copper supply, while nickel pushed to its strongest in almost 15 months in the wake of Indonesia's ban on ore shipments.