SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Friday morning trade, as simmering tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue to keep investors on edge.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 1.12% in early trade while the Topix index dipped 0.89%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.97%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.76% in morning trade.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.28% lower.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis is at a pivotal moment, with Kyiv accusing pro-Moscow separatists of attacking a village near the border.

Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have driven investors toward safe-haven assets such as gold. Spot gold was last at about $1,899.60 per ounce, following its ascent earlier in the week from below $1,860.

The Japanese yen, also commonly seen as a safe-haven asset, traded at 114.85 per dollar — stronger than levels above 115.6 seen against the greenback earlier this week.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 622.24 points to 34,312.03. The S&P 500 shed 2.12% to 4,380.26 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.88% to 13,716.72.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.805 after declining from above 96 earlier this week.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7184, off levels above $0.72 seen earlier in the week.

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