U.S. stocks declined with emerging- market equities while base metals drove commodities lower as an unexpected drop in Chinese exports fueled concern that growth in the world’s second-largest economy is moderating.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell to a three-week low and Brent decreased after Chinese exports unexpectedly sank, bolstering concern that economic growth in the world’s second-biggest oil consuming nation will slow.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian ex-billionaire who spent a decade in prison after opposing President Vladimir Putin, in his most public criticism since being released in December backed the anti-Kremlin uprising in Ukraine and called for Western support against Russia.
Ukraine began military drills as Russian forces tightened their hold on the Crimean peninsula and the Foreign Ministry in Moscow warned of “lawlessness” in the former Soviet republic’s eastern provinces.
European stocks declined, following their first weekly drop since January, on rising tensions over Ukraine’s Crimea region and after an unexpected slump in Chinese exports triggered a selloff in mining stocks.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos Oil Co. owner who was released after 10 years in prison by Vladimir Putin, said Ukraine’s “revolution” is legitimate and not an unconstitutional coup as characterized by Russia.