GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rebound as Putin says no need for force in Ukraine

Tue Mar 4, 2014 10:49am EST

* Russian, European shares rebound, rouble firms

* Putin says sees no need to use force in Ukraine for now

* Gold, yen and oil fall as tensions seen easing

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - Global equity markets and other risk assets, including hard-hit Russian securities, rebounded on Tuesday after Russia's president said he saw no need to use military force in Crimea for now, remarks investors saw as intended to ease tensions over Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin delivered a robust defense of Russia's actions in Crimea, but he also sought to ease East-West tension over fears of war in the former Soviet republic. His comments reversed most of the markets' moves on Monday.

Russian stocks jumped 5.3 percent, recouping half of the previous day's losses, while gold and the Japanese yen , traditionally seen as safe havens, fell. The rouble rose 1.1 percent to 36.100 to the dollar.

Putin told a news conference that Russia's use of force in Ukraine would be a choice of "last resort" and that sanctions being considered against Moscow by the West would be counter-productive.

Stocks on Wall Street surged, outpacing Monday's losses as the S&P 500 set a new intra-day high. European stocks rose, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index up 1.9 percent, making up more than half of Monday's losses.

MSCI's all-country world stocks index, which tracks stocks in 45 countries, rose 1.2 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 197.38 points, or 1.22 percent, to 16,365.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 24.88 points, or 1.35 percent, at 1,870.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 73.04 points, or 1.71 percent, at 4,350.34.

Safe-haven government debt on both sides of the Atlantic retreated, driving yields higher as demand for low-risk assets waned.

"Respite with the Russia-Ukraine situation is taking some of the flight-to-quality bid out of the (U.S.) Treasury market," said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist at Prudential Fixed Income in Newark, New Jersey.

"The rapid developments over the weekend, especially coming amidst mixed data in the U.S., for a brief interval, took the wind out of the sales of the risk-on trade," said Tipp.

U.S. government bonds fell, with the benchmark 10-year note down 16/32 in price to yield 2.6636 percent.

Bund futures were 31 ticks lower at 144.83, having hit their highest since May 2013 at 145.42 on Monday as investors piled into top-rated assets.

Earlier in Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose nearly 0.2 percent and Tokyo's Nikkei closed 0.5 percent higher as some foreign investors scooped up battered shares.

In currency markets, the euro gained 0.74 percent to 140.33 yen, and the dollar rose 0.59 percent to 102.03 yen. Against the dollar, the euro rose 0.14 percent to $1.3753.

"Given three days' worth of bad headlines, I think the market was just willing to take any sort of stability it can get," said Geoffrey Yu, a strategist with UBS in London.

Gold, another traditional safe haven, fell after rallying nearly 2 percent on Monday. Gold futures were last down 0.96 percent at $1,337.40.

Oil fell toward $109 a barrel. Brent crude oil fell $1.85 to $109.35 a barrel. U.S. crude for April delivery fell $1.45 to $103.47.

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