Shares steady in thin pre-Thanksgiving trading, as investors watch strife in Middle East

TOKYO – European shares rose modestly Wednesday while Asian markets mostly fell as investors kept a wary eye on developments in the Middle East after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane. Trading was light ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent to 6,305.83 and the CAC 40 of France gained 0.2 per cent to 4,831.52. Germany’s DAX was up 0.1 per cent at 10,945.75. Wall Street also looked set for gains. Dow futures were up 0.1 per cent at 17,781.00 and S&P 500 futures added 0.1 per cent to 2,085.90.

TURKEY-RUSSIA: The downing by Turkey of a Russian fighter plane that Turkey said had violated its airspace and ignored warnings added further complexity to the crisis in Syria. Russia said Turkey had betrayed it and that jets had not violated Turkish airspace, as NATO worked to reduce tensions at an extraordinary meeting.

THE QUOTE: “An escalation in geopolitical risk is sending a chill through the markets. Traders are opting to sit on the side lines, especially ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday,” Stephen Innes, a senior foreign exchange trader for OANDA, said in a commentary.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 per cent to 19,847.58 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.4 per cent to 22,498.00. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3 per cent to 2,009.42 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.6 per cent to 5,193.70. China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 per cent to 3,647.93. Stock benchmarks fell in Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand and Thailand, while Indonesia and the Philippines rose.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil was down 34 cents to $42.50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.12, or 2.7 per cent, to $42.87 a barrel in New York on Tuesday, following a 3.4-per cent jump on Monday. Brent crude fell 45 cents to $45.68 a barrel. It rose $1.29, or 2.9 per cent, to $46.12 a barrel in London on Tuesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 122.33 yen from 122.43 yen on Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.0673 from $1.0654.