Stocks finish lower on Ukraine fears
Over the weekend, Ukraines prime minister declared that his country is on the brink of disaster as Russias military advanced into the Crimea region and its troops blocked key naval and military bases. Still in a note to clients before the U.S. stock markets opening bell, Citigroup strategist Tobias Levkovich downplayed the risk to U.S. stocks, barring a breakout of major hostilities. Recent events in Ukraine, he says, could unsettle euphoric markets but should not be that disruptive.
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Joe Tatusko, chief investment officer at Westport Resources, said he thinks the market weakness “almost definitely presents a tremendous buying opportunity.” Gold soars as Ukraine crisis escalates Meanwhile, as investors seek safe-haven assets, gold prices rose more than 2% to $1,351 per ounce. Investors were buying U.S. Treasuries too, pushing the 10-year yield down below 2.6% from 2.65% late Friday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. The price visit site of oil is also up, with crude prices rising by almost 2% to more than $104 per barrel.
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Meanwhile, there were lots of economic data coming out in the U.S. and abroad. The ISM manufacturing index climbed to 53.2 in February from 51.3 in January. The new orders subindex jumped to 54.5 from 51.2. “Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 are reporting growth in February , ” said the ISM.
US STOCKS-Wall St sells off as Ukraine-Russia tension rises
But the Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x ETF, a leveraged play on bad news that could affect the fortunes of the nation’s listed stocks, jumped 21 percent to $20.98. Energy stocks could lose if relations between the United States and Russia deteriorate further. “Anything that involves a boycott of Russian supplies, which are very significant, could impact the energy sector dramatically,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. “In situations like this, you see very quick reactions reverse as people understand the scenario and how things play out.” Brent crude prices rose $2.13 to settle at $111.20 per barrel while U.S. crude prices gained $2.33 to end at $104.92 a barrel.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Ukraine today and the United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting as western leaders seek to respond to Russia seizing control of the countrys Crimea region. Ukraine said Russias navy ordered two of its ships to surrender. Russias central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark rate 150 basis points. Manufacturing gauges in China signaled slower growth, while a U.S.