Wall Street opened lower on Thursday as tensions between Russia and Ukraine flared up again, raising the possibility of an invasion by Moscow and market-rattling sanctions by the West.
Indices gained earlier in the week after Russia announced a pullback of its troops from the Ukrainian border, but reports later indicated the forces were still there and US President Joe Biden said Thursday the threat of an invasion was “very high.”
The United States and other Western nations have threated severe sanctions on Russia should it invade, that could have repercussions beyond its borders.
Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities said that threat and fears of interest rate hikes have markets spooked.
“The focus remains on the geopolitical situation and, of course, rates. So basically, it’s going to be another day of anxieties,” he said.
About 20 minutes into trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average lost one percent to 34,593.33. The broad-based S&P 500 fell one percent to 4,428.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.2 percent to 13,961.52.
Walmart was up two percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profits as strong consumer demand during the festive season offset higher costs.