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Dow futures fall 450 points as traders assess ripple effects of Russia sanctions


Traders in the NYSE Floor, February 24, 2022.

Source: NYSE

U.S. stock futures fell in overnight trading Sunday, as investors became more worried about the economic implications of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Dow futures fell by about 450 points. S&P 500 futures fell 2.3% and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.7%.

Global equities and the United States experienced volatile trading as geopolitical tensions between Russia, Ukraine and other countries escalated. It was early Thursday morning, local time. Moscow launched military action in Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was continuing throughout the weekend. Russian military vehicles entered Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv. There were reports of fighting and residents were warned to seek shelters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert SundayIn the face of a global backlash, invasion is being resisted more and more. The Defense Ministry in Ukraine stated that representatives of Russia and Ukraine had agreed to meet at the Ukraine-Belarus border without any preconditions.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude future rose more than 4%to around $95.60 per barrel on Sunday. The April Brent crude futures contract also rose 4% to near $102 per barrel.

The attack was reacted by President Joe Biden last week. He announced several rounds of sanctions against Russian banks. These were on Russia’s sovereign debt, Putin, and Sergey Lavrov. 

Canada, its European allies, and the U.S. agreed on Saturday to eliminate key Russian banks, SWIFT (interbank messaging system), from their interbanking alliance.

Dennis DeBusschere, 22V Research said that “some Russian banks were removed from SWIFT (“energy transactions exempt”) and the freezing by the Russian central bank of its access to foreign currency reserves kept in the West clearly increase economic tail risk.”

He believes Russia could still sell oil, and that there may be loop holes in Russia’s assets frozen, which might “might limit” the devastation in markets for just a few more days.

According to Reuters the Russian ruble is expected to fall at least 19%, with banks selling it for about 100 rubles each dollar. On Friday, it closed at 84 rubles per $1.

“Traders will be watching for any signs of resolution on the Russian crisis (negotiated peace or a signs of a near-term victory for either side) or for signs tensions could be worsening raising the chance of a world war involving NATO members,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group. Expect stock market volatility as more news comes out in support of either theory.

Despite market volatility, Dow still experienced its best year ever. best day since November 2020 on Friday.

The Dow suffered its third consecutive week of losses last week. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended the week in green, rising 0.8% and 1.1%, respectively.

About 15% of its record closing close is left in correction for the Nasdaq Composite. The Dow and S&P 500 are just outside of correction territory.

Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman, testifies twice before Congress in the week ahead. Any indications that geopolitical events could have an impact on Fed rate rises will be closely monitored.

Investors can also expect a report on the labor department in the latter part of the week, as Friday’s February jobs report will be released. The January jobs report was expected Friday. 467,000 payrolls were added.