Tensions in Ukraine and muscle flexing by Russia accentuated risk aversion in global markets on Thursday, with investors once again rushing for safe havens.
European markets were firmly "risk off" on Thursday, closing lower. Investors instead opted for safe havens like sovereign bonds and the U.S. dollar. The yield on the 10-year benchmark German bund has fallen to 1.563 percent this week from 1.688 percent. The greenback held near a two-week high against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, weighing on commodities such as oil. Wall Street opened higher and U.S. Treasury yields also ticked lower.
Heightening tensions in Ukraine are seen as the key driver, with the focus now turning to Crimea, a peninsula in the south of the country home to an ethnic Russian majority.
Armed men seized the parliament in the Crimea district in the Ukraine on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, according to NBC News. The region's leaders attempted to distanced themselves from the regime change in Kiev by announcing plans to hold a referendum on Crimea's future.
(Read More: Armed men seize government HQ in Ukraine's Crimea)