U.S. Stocks Close Mostly Lower Amid Worries About Ukraine

wallstreet sept18 14feb22 lt

Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Monday before ending the day mostly lower. With the continued decrease on the day, the major averages extended the sell-off seen last Thursday and Friday.

The major averages all closed in negative territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged down just 0.24 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 13,709.92. The Dow fell 171.89 points or 0.5 percent to 34,566.17 and the S&P 500 dropped 16.97 points or 0.4 percent at 4,401.67.

The continued weakness on Wall Street came as kept a close eye on developments regarding the tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

President Joe Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend, with a senior administration official describing the call as "professional and substantive" but noting there was "no fundamental change in the dynamic that has been unfolding now for several weeks."

"We believe that we have put ideas on the table that would be in our and our allies' interest to pursue, that would enhance European security, and that would also address some of Russia's stated concerns," the official said in a call with reporters.

The official added, "But it remains unclear whether Russia is interested in pursuing its goals diplomatically as opposed to through the use of force."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Putin in remarks aired on Russian state television on Monday that "there is always a chance" that diplomacy could still work.

Traders also remained wary about the outlook for monetary policy following mixed remarks by Federal Reserve officials.

While St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC he favors front-loading planned interest rate increases, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly told CBS' "Face The Nation" she prefers a measured pace of rate hikes.

Sector News

Energy stocks pulled back sharply after skyrocketing along with the price of crude oil last Friday. The sell-off in the sector came despite another spike by the price of crude oil, as crude for March delivery soared $2.36 to $95.46 a barrel.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index plunged by 2.9 percent, while the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index and the NYSE Arca Oil Index both tumbled by 2.3 percent.

Substantial weakness was also visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.

Computer hardware, healthcare and banking stocks also saw notable weakness, while gold stocks moved notably higher along with the price of the precious metal.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plunged by 2.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1 percent.

The major European markets also showed notable moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index dove by 2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries climbed off their worst levels of the day but still closed in negative territory. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 4.1 basis points to 1.996 percent.

Looking Ahead

Developments in Ukraine are lightly to remain in the spotlight on Thursday, although traders are also likely to keep an eye on a report on producer price inflation.

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