UPDATE 1-U.S. equity futures slip, concerns about Ukraine cited

Sun Mar 2, 2014 6:32pm EST

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By David Gaffen

March 2 (Reuters) - U.S. equity futures dipped at the open of electronic trading on Sunday, with concerns about Russia's aggression in the Ukraine weighing on sentiment.

The Standard & Poor's 500 E-mini futures, the most popularly traded equity futures contract, fell 15 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1842.50 in early trading.

Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday after President Vladimir Putin secured permission from his parliament on Saturday to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine.

Russian forces have already seized Crimea, an isolated Black Sea peninsula where Moscow has a naval base. Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling the move an "incredible act of aggression."

The price of Brent crude oil was up 1.1 percent to $110.17 a barrel.

"Oil and gas prices are likely to stay high, or go higher. Energy stocks are likely to be hit by this," said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

"Beyond this, the fallout for the equity markets may be minor over the medium-term. The short-term is more of a gamble. It should serve as a reminder that you don't put grocery money for the next month in risky assets."

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