Asian stocks sold off sharply Wednesday amid mounting concerns that Ukraine is on the brink of a civil war. Trading volumes also returned to normal with Japan and South Korea coming back online following a long weekend.
In the latest episode of violence, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported that Ukrainian forces attacked a checkpoint in the eastern port of Mariupol on Tuesday while Ukrainian military forces continued to surround the pro-Russian stronghold of Slavyansk.
Caution also set in before Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's congressional testimony later in the day. While Yellen is expected to maintain her dovish stance, investors will be watching out for any hints as to the timing of future interest rate hikes.