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Asia stock markets subdued after Ukraine clash, investors look ahead to Jackson Hole symposium

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Asian stocks drifted Monday as caution lingered after markets tumbled at the end of last week on reports Ukraine destroyed a Russian military convoy that had entered its east.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.1 per cent at 15,329.56 while Seoul's Kospi was down 0.4 per cent at 2,055.68. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.7 per cent to 24,771.42. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 per cent to 5,571.40. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

UKRAINE: Ukrainian army troops penetrated deep inside a city controlled by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine in what could prove a breakthrough development in the four-month-long conflict, the Ukrainian government said Sunday. That came after NATO on Friday said a Russian military column ventured into Ukraine, and the Ukrainian president said his forces destroyed most of it. Russia denied it but the reports upended major European markets, turning gains into losses. Germany's DAX dropped 1.4 per cent, after climbing 1.1 per cent earlier. France's CAC 40 lost 0.7 per cent.

JACKSON HOLE: Central bankers, policy experts and academics from around the world meet at Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an annual talkfest later this week. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech Friday on the U.S. labour market is expected to "reiterate her views that slack remains substantial, and that the Fed should keep monetary policy accommodative still in order to address that," Mihuzo Bank said in a commentary.

WALL STREET: After a tumble on the Ukraine fighting, U.S. stock markets pared their losses to end little changed Friday. The S&P 500 index fell 0.12 of a point to 1,955.06. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.67, or 0.3 per cent, to 16,662.91, while the Nasdaq composite gained 11.93 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,464.93

ENERGY: Oil is trading near its lowest since April after fears of supply disruptions from major producer Iraq faded, removing much of the risk premium that built up in May and June. The benchmark U.S. crude futures contract was down 47 cents at $96.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCIES: The euro dropped to $1.3397 from $1.3399 late Friday. The dollar dropped to 102.30 yen from 102.36 yen.

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