World stocks slide as pressure on Russia grows

The Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin steps down upon his arrival at the airport of Samara, Russia, Monday, July 21, 2014. Putin has lambasted those who use the downing of a passenger jet in eastern Ukraine for "mercenary objectives," the Kremlin said Monday. In a statement posted on the Kremlin website, Putin again lashed out at Ukraine for ongoing violence with pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets fell again on Monday as tensions grew between Russia and the West over the downing of an airliner in eastern Ukraine.

The shooting down last week of the Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people aboard has worried some investors that Western governments, already alarmed by Russia's support for rebels in Ukraine's east, might toughen economic sanctions. The European Union's foreign ministers will meet Tuesday to discuss such penalties.

The disaster, in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists, has sparked international condemnation and increased pressure on Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine. Russian officials have blamed Ukraine's government for creating the situation and atmosphere in which the plane was downed.

"The more pressure that builds on Russia the more volatile European indices will be," said strategist Evan Lucas at IG Markets in a report. "With the strong trade links between the continent and Russia, any disruptions to this through sanctions will cause profit taking on European indices."

In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent to close at 9,612.05 while France's CAC-40 shed 0.7 percent to 4,304.74. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.3 percent to 6,728.44.

Wall Street traded lower, with the Dow falling 0.5 percent to 17,013.78 and the S&P 500 dropping by the same rate to 1,968.93.

Earlier, China's Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.2 percent to 2,054.48 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent at 23,387.14. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 percent and Seoul's Kospi fell 0.1 percent. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Jakarta rose 0.8 percent despite tensions over presidential election results due out Tuesday, with both candidates claiming victory.

Investors were looking ahead to U.S. earnings reports amid hopes American economic growth is recovering. Results from Apple, Microsoft and Coca Cola were due out Tuesday and Caterpillar on Thursday.

In energy markets, U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery was up 80 cents to $103.93 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract has risen in recent days on worries that the war in Gaza might further destabilize the Middle East, the world's most important oil-producing region.

The euro edged down to $1.3523 from $1.3525 late Friday while the dollar fell to 101.34 yen from 101.36 yen.