* Nikkei futures, stronger yen point to further Tokyo share
* Ukraine's Monday ultimatum to separatists saps risk
* Euro undermined by ECB officials' talk of more easing
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, April 14 The safe-haven yen started the
week on a firm footing and Asian shares braced for more losses
on Monday after a dismal week on Wall Street.
Ongoing tensions in Ukraine also sapped investors' appetite
for risk. Ukraine gave pro-Russian separatists a Monday morning
deadline to disarm or face a "full-scale anti-terrorist
operation" by its armed forces, raising the risk of a military
confrontation with Moscow.
European Union foreign ministers will hold talks later on
Monday about tougher sanctions against Russia.
Nikkei futures pointed to an early dip, with a
stronger yen seen undermining shares of exporters. S&P 500
e-mini futures were down about 0.3 percent.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
shed 0.7 percent on Friday, pulling away from
five-month highs hit on Thursday.
U.S. stocks slid in a volatile session on Friday, with the
Nasdaq closing below the 4,000 mark for the first time since
early February as investors bailed out of high-flying technology
and biotech shares.
Ahead of that, Japanese shares tumbled to six-month lows,
shedding 7.3 percent on the week, which was their biggest weekly
fall since devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The low-yielding yen benefited from the heightened risk
aversion. The dollar was down about 0.2 percent in early trading
at 101.46 yen, after touching a 3-1/2 week low of 101.32
yen on Friday, a far cry from a 2-1/2 month high of 104.13 yen
set on April 4.
The dollar index steadied, edging up to 79.603,
though April 4's seven-week high of 80.599 remained a distant
memory after the greenback's battering last week as U.S. stocks
"Given the technical damage inflicted on the dollar and the
decline in U.S. interest rates, it is tempting to look for the
greenback's losses to accelerate," said Marc Chandler, global
head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.
"We are more inclined to think that rather than breaking
out, the dollar simply moved to the lower end of its
ranges. This means that the greenback may do a bit better in the
days ahead as participants will likely be denied fresh
incentives," he said in a note to clients.
The dollar got some help against the euro from European
Central Bank officials, whose comments rekindled speculation
about more easing in the euro zone.
The euro fell about 0.4 percent to 140.52 yen.
Against the dollar, it shed about 0.3 percent to $1.3843,
moving away from a 3 1/2 week peak of $1.3906 hit on Friday.
ECB President Mario Draghi on Saturday told a news
conference that "a further strengthening of the exchange rate
would require further stimulus."
The ECB is ready to make asset purchases if it deems them
necessary to counter a prolonged period of low inflation, ECB
Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Sunday.
European Central Banker Christian Noyer said on Monday in an
interview with daily newspaper Le Figaro that euro weakening was
"The stronger the euro is, the more accommodative policy is
needed," Noyer said.
Spot gold XAU= added about 0.6 percent to $1,327.10 an
ounce, after marking its second straight week of gains.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)