Asian stocks fell for the first time in five days after a Malaysia plane was shot down over Ukraine and Israel sent troops into Gaza, spurring demand for haven assets.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3% to 146.79 as of 8.07pm in Hong Kong (7.07pm Thailand time) as all of its 10 industry groups retreated, paring this week's advance to 0.6%. The regional gauge followed losses in Europe and the United States after Ukraine's government claimed pro-Russia rebels shot down the passenger jet over disputed territory, killing all 298 people on board. Equities in New York extended a retreat in the last hour of trading as Israel sent ground forces into Gaza.
"Geopolitical risks have resurfaced, sparking a selldown in global share markets and a flight to quality assets," said Matthew Sherwood, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Perpetual, which manages about US$29 billion. "At present, details remain scarce with pro-Russian and Ukrainian forces subsequently blaming each other for the attack."
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