London (AFP) - Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, slumped to a record low Thursday because of ongoing uncertainty, while European share markets pulled back from a day-long slide, finishing mixed mostly with slight gains or losses.
London's FTSE 100 shrugged off poor corporate results that weighed on it during the day to end 0.16 percent up at 6,810.27 points.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 continued its slide for the third consecutive day, losing 0.76 percent at 9,588.33 points. The CAC 40 in Paris recovered losses through the day to end up treading water down 0.01 percent at 4,396.39 points.
Wall Street was trading higher mid-session, with the Dow showing a gain of 0.17 percent at 16,225.65 points, the broader S&P 500 up 0.20 percent at 1,848.82 and the tech-rich NASDAQ Composite up 0.26 percent at 4,303.44 points.
"We have a pretty hollow market, drifting a bit, directed more by profit-taking and flows than by macro-economic news," said a Paris consultant with Meeschaert Gestion Privee, Guillaume Garabedian.
"Once people took their profits, there were no more sellers and the market went its usual way," springing back in the afternoon, he said.
Macro-economics were the focus of currency trades though, with Ukraine's hryvnia weakening past 11 to the dollar for the first time, reflecting uncertainty from snap Russian military exercises near Ukraine's border following the upheaval in Kiev, and from pro-Kremlin gunmen grabbing government buildings in separatist-minded Crimea.
At Capital Markets in London, emerging markets economist William Jackson said that Ukraine crisis could put the country on track for "a pretty severe recession" and that "2014 looks set to be a pretty disastrous year for Ukraine's economy".
The euro picked itself up from a two-week low hit during the day against the greenback after comments by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen to the US Senate.
The euro at 1700 GMT was trading at 1.3708 to the dollar, up slightly from 1.3683 late Wednesday.
It stabilised against the yen at 140.06 to the Japanese unit, against 140.11 Wednesday. The dollar gave up a little, trading at 102.16 yen, from 102.38 the day before.
Britain's pound dropped a little against the euro, at 82.20 pence, but gained on the dollar, at 1.6680 to the pound.
"The markets were calmed" by Yellen's comments hinting that US interest rates could remain close to zero percent, tamping the dollar's recent rise, said Kathleen Brooks, an analyst with Forex.com.
In her Senate testimony, the Fed chair cited recent weaker numbers in the housing sector, retail sales, job creation and industrial production.
It was still "difficult to discern" what exactly is behind the soft data, she said, adding it was "clear" that unusually intense winter weather in the US "played some role".
She stopped short of saying whether the Fed would halt the two-month-old process of cutting its stimulus program, now at $65 billion a month in bond purchases.
That Fed "taper" is putting pressure on many emerging market currencies.
- Corporate tumbles -
Several European listings took tumbles Thursday on poor results.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) gave up 7.74 percent to 326.60 pence after revealing heavy 2013 losses. The bank, bailed out by Britain during the financial crisis, also generated anger by paying out millions in bonuses it said were necessary to attract employees to turn its performance around.
German insurer Allianz gave up 2.29 percent at 128 euros despite publishing a record operating profit for 2013, because it said it was now in an "extremely difficult" environment.
France's state-controlled Areva nuclear power conglomerate plunged 13.26 percent to 18.95 euros a day after publishing its third consecutive annual loss, dragged down by provisions set aside for problems over a new-generation EPR reactor being built in Finland.
Veolia, France's waste and water management company, added 8.24 percent to 13.80 euros after delivering better-than-expected 2013 results.
Telecom Italia lost 4.28 percent and Spain's Telefonica shed 2.05 percent.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold stood at $1,332, compared with $1,331.75 on Wednesday.
Asian stock markets mostly rose in cautious trading.
The Shanghai market added 0.30 percent to close at 2,047.35 and Hong Kong rallied 1.74 percent to 22,828.18.
But Tokyo slipped 0.32 percent, or 47.86 points, to 14,923.11 and Sydney fell 0.47 percent, or 25.6 points, to 5,411.4.