Wall Street Ends Down Sharply over Concerns of Ukraine Conflict

On Friday, Wall Street stocks ended sharply lower for the second consecutive session, as investors were concerned about the increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. There was a decline in nine of the total 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, which were headed by technology, which had fallen by 3.0%. There was also a 2.8% decline in the consumer discretionary index, while the energy index actually surged by 2.8% with oil prices actually reaching seven-year highs. With investors already concerned about rising interest rates and inflation, there was accelerated selling on Wall Street after Washington issued a warning that enough troops had been amassed by Russia near Ukraine for launching a major invasion.

The warning indicated that the attack could be launched any day. Market experts said that investors would have to wait and see how things play out over the weekend and whether or not it is possible for international leadership to get this under control. If this doesn’t happen, then there would certainly be material effects because of the conflict and this is the primary concern of the markets. There was a 7.3% decline in Nvidia Corp, while a 3.6% fall was noted in Inc. Other tech companies like Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc. also lost about 2% each.

These four companies were the ones that weighed the most in the decline of the S&P 500. There was also a 1.43% fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which ended at 34,738.06 points. Meanwhile, there was a 1.90% decline in the S&P 500 that brought it to 4,418.64. As for the Nasdaq Composite, it fell by 2.78% to reach 13,791.15. A 4.83% drop was reported in the Philadelphia Semiconductor index. US exchanges remained quite busy, with the total number of shares changing hands around 13.4 billion. In the last 20 trading days, the average number of shares that changed hands was about 12.6 billion.

The latest sell-off on Wall Street came after a slump on Thursday when data indicated a 7.5% surge in consumer prices back in January. This was the biggest annual increase to have been recorded in the last 40 years. Investor sentiment has also been considerably rattled because of comments from James Bullard, the President of the St. Louis Fed bank, about aggressive hikes in the interest rates. The weekly decline in the S&P 500 index stood about 1.8% and there was a 2.2% decline in the Nasdaq.

A half-point rate hike has been priced in by traders in March and there is a small possibility of a quarter-point raise. But, there are heavy bets for policy path that would bring the rates to somewhere between 1.75% and 2% till the end of the year. Market analysts said that if Ukraine is attacked, then it is likely that the Fed would continue with a dovish stance because the outlook would become even more uncertain. According to a recent survey, the US consumer sentiment had declined to its lowest in early February in more than a decade because of inflation expectations.

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