World markets weather latest Ukraine jitters

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Stock markets in China and Hong Kong were the best performers Monday after authorities promised financial reforms. Markets elsewhere were solid, particularly in the U.S., despite ongoing concerns over Ukraine.

China's Shanghai Composite jumped 2.1 percent to 2,052.87 after the Cabinet promised in an announcement late Friday to allow local governments to issue bonds and to streamline the approval process for initial public stock offerings. It gave no details, but the news also boosted Hong Kong's market with the Hang Seng up 1.8 percent to 22,261.61.

Elsewhere, markets advanced despite tensions between the West and Russia over the future of Ukraine.

The latest concerns have centered on referendums in the eastern part of Ukraine where the majority of voters allegedly said they backed sovereignty for their regions.

In Europe, France's CAC-40 closed up 0.4 percent at 4,493.65 while Germany's DAX rose 1.3 percent to 9,702.46. Britain's FTSE 100 ended 0.6 percent higher at 6,851.75.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.6 percent higher at 16,682 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.8 percent to 1,893. If sustained through the rest of the session, both indexes will close at all-time highs.

"Any fears that an after reporting season lull would set in to tempt the 'sell in May brigade' are swiftly being set aside," said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG.

Earlier in Asia, the regional heavyweight, Tokyo's Nikkei 225, shed 0.4 percent to 14,149.52 while Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.2 percent to 5,448.40.

Elsewhere, markets were fairly subdued. Among currencies, the euro was flat at $1.3759 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent to 102.12 yen.