* European stocks seen dipping following wide swings
* Yen's gains continue to unravel after Putin suggests
conflict not imminent
* Asian shares gain, Tokyo's Nikkei rises 1.2 percent
* Focus shifts to Thursday's ECB meeting, Friday's U.S. jobs
By Shinichi Saoshiro and Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, March 5 Asian stocks gained and the
safe-haven yen remained on the defensive after a sharp tumble on
Wednesday, following remarks from Russian President Vladimir
Putin that allayed fears of an imminent military conflict in
Putin said Russia reserved the right to use all options to
protect compatriots who were living in "terror" in Ukraine, but
that force was not needed for now.
European stocks were seen dipping on Wednesday following the
wild swings of previous sessions.
On Wednesday, financial spreadbetter IG expected Britain's
FTSE 100 to open down 11 points, or 0.2 percent,
Germany's DAX to open 27 points lower, or 0.3 percent,
and France's CAC 40 to open down 13 points, or 0.3
"While the Ukraine saga looks set to rumble on and Europe's
markets get set for a slightly negative open, the focus can now
shift back to the mundane matters of economic data," Michael
Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note to
With wariness over Ukraine on a lower boil, focus shifted
back to fundamentals, notably Thursday's European Central Bank
monetary policy meeting and Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls
Earlier on Wednesday, Tokyo's Nikkei climbed 1.2
percent, buoyed after Putin's remarks helped the S&P 500
attain another record closing high on Tuesday. MSCI's broadest
index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose
Soichiro Monji, chief strategist at Daiwa SB Investments in
Tokyo, said the markets took Putin's words positively though the
Russian leader did not rule out military intervention.
"While it looks like Russia's control of Crimea is becoming
a fait accompli, there is no further escalation and no major
sanction by the G7 other than skipping the G8 meeting," Monji
Despite the widespread relief, market watchers warned of
further jolts from the crisis in Crimea.
"The easing of geopolitical tensions saw a reversal of
yesterday's movements in most asset markets. However, tensions
remain high and suggest some further volatility in financial
markets while the situation in Ukraine remains uncertain," said
Janu Chan, an economist at St. George Bank in Sydney.
The Australian dollar, already on a bullish footing on
revived risk appetite, received a further boost after data
showed Australia's economic growth had beaten forecasts.
The Aussie was at $0.8958 from a low near 89 U.S.
Australia's major trading partner China said on Wednesday it
would maintain its economic growth target for 2014 at around 7.5
percent, as expected, and push forward convertibility of the
Analysts said the statement was an indication that China
would widen the yuan's trading band going forward, further
signalling a possible end to the currency's one-way appreciation
The dollar index traded at 80.178, moving away from
Friday's two-month low of 79.688.
Economists polled by Reuters expect Friday's U.S. nonfarm
payrolls report for February could show a more solid increase of
150,000 jobs last month.
The yen remained on the back foot after a heavy reversal on
Tuesday. The dollar was buying 102.14 yen, moving away
from a one-month low of 101.20 hit on Monday, while the euro
bought 140.23 yen, after touching a two-week low of
138.75 yen on Thursday.
The euro was nearly flat on the day against the greenback at
$1.3728, below Friday's high of $1.3825.
The single currency was likely to tread water ahead of
Thursday's ECB monetary policy meeting. The ECB could take steps
to bolster the region's recovery, as euro zone inflation has
been running well below the ECB's target of just under 2
On the commodities front, U.S. crude was up 14 cents
at $103.47, after falling $1.59 on Tuesday. The contract hit its
highest level since Sept. 20 on Monday at $105.22.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose
0.4 percent to $7,078 a tonne, after gains of 1.2 percent in the
Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,336.55 an ounce after
dropping 1.2 percent on Tuesday.