The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

March 4, 2014

Stocks slide as tension rises in Ukraine

NEW YORK — Russia’s military advance into Ukraine rattled global markets Monday.

U.S. stocks fell the most in a month and the price of crude oil rose sharply as traders feared Russian exports could be affected by sanctions. Gold and bond prices rose as investors sought safety.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had its biggest drop since Feb. 3, following markets in Europe and Asia lower, as Russia’s military tightened its grip on the Crimea region of Ukraine.

It was the second time this year the U.S. stock market has been roiled by developments in emerging markets. Stocks slipped in January as investors worried about slowing growth in China and other emerging economies. Now a showdown in Ukraine has grabbed investors’ attention and stoked fears of a tit-for-tat campaign of economic sanctions between Russia and Western powers.

“Financial markets are doing exactly would you would expect them to,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. “You have no idea what is going to happen and how this is going to play out.”

The S&P 500 index fell 13.72 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,845.73, the biggest drop since Feb. 3. The index was down as much as 25 points at one point before recouping some of the ground it lost.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 153.68 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,168.03. The Nasdaq composite fell 30.82 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,277.30.

European markets fell even more. Germany’s DAX sank 3.4 percent and Russia’s benchmark stock index plunged 12 percent.

“Europe gets a lot of energy supplies from Russia,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan funds. “So, Europe would be a lot more directly affected by a trade war with Russia than the United States would.”

Kelly says that the most likely scenario is that Russia and Western powers, including the U.S., will reach a compromise relatively quickly. That would send stock prices higher.

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