As investors sold risky stocks, they bought safer assets such as gold and U.S. government debt securities. The dollar and the Japanese yen also increased in value.
The price of gold rose $28.70, or 2.2 percent, to $1,350.30 an ounce, its biggest gain of the year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, fell to 2.60 percent from 2.64 percent on Friday.
The price of crude following warnings by Washington and other governments that Russia, a major oil exporter, might face sanctions after it seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Russia was the world’s second-largest producer of oil in 2012, accounting for 12.6 percent of global supplies, according to the International Energy Agency.
The prices of crude oil climbed $2.33, or 2.3 percent, to $104.92 a barrel, its highest price of the year.
Russian stocks that trade in the U.S. were also hit hard. Mechel, a mining company, fell 18 cents, or 9.5 percent, to $1.72; Phone company VimpelCom fell 51 cents, or 5 percent, to $9.65. Energy company LukOil fell $3.20, or 5.9 percent, to $51.20.
The drop in stocks might also present investors with the opportunity to buy stocks at lower prices, said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank.
“Clearly geopolitical risks are elevated, but it’s too early to tell about the longer-term implications,” Sandven said. “It’s still a buy-on-the-dip equity market and the fundamental backdrop is still favorable for equities to trade higher.”
The developments in the Ukraine also overshadowed some encouraging developments on the U.S. economy.
Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace in February as new orders and businesses boosted their stockpiles. The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 53.2 in February from 51.3 in January. Any reading above 50 signals growth.