Asian markets have had something of a muted session as the Wall Street rally ran out of steam and we're also seeing a degree of risk aversion creeping into play now with concerns that the situation could escalate between Russia and Ukraine. There are reports of a border incursion by Russian troops so we're seeing some classic defensive moves in markets with gold appreciating relatively rapidly towards the $1300/oz level, whilst the Yen is also appreciating. As such, although the regional markets may have finished Thursday's session relatively undamaged, there's every chance that if we don't see a stabilization in the geopolitical agenda today, then the sell-off could accelerate into the month-end.
Against this backdrop, Wall Street futures are currently eyeing a softer start to the session but again the downside pressure could well be exacerbated depending on the tone of the rhetoric from Kiev and Moscow. There's also the US GDP update due before the opening bell which again could provide some direction, but once again it's a case of all eyes on the geopolitical situation. Ahead of the open we're currently calling the DOW off 31 at 17091 and the S&P off 4 at 1996.