U.S. Stocks Close Mixed After Volatile Session

After a sharp plunge, U.S. stocks regained some lost ground Monday morning, but faltered again and eventually ended the day’s session on a mixed note amid high volatility.

The major averages closed mixed. The Dow ended with a loss of 166.15 points or 0.49 percent at 33,892.60, after swinging between 33,469.31 and 33,963.62. The S&P 500, which briefly emerged into positive territory around later morning, ended the session with a loss of 10.71 points or 0.24 percent at 4,373.94, while the Nasdaq settled with a gain of 56.77 points or 0.41 percent at 13,751.40.

The escalation in Russia-Ukraine conflict and stringent sanctions imposed on Russia by the Western countries rendered the mood cautious.

G7 nations agreed to exclude Russian banks from SWIFT, and Biden’s administration today announced that it would ban US people and companies from doing business with the Bank of Russia, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance.

Ukrainians continue to hold out against the Russian assault, while news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear forces on high alert has led to worries about an escalation of the war.

Russian and Ukrainian officials held talks near the Belarusian border today.

On the U.S. economic front, MNI Indicators released a report showing a significant slowdown in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the month of February.

The report showed the Chicago business barometer tumbled to 56.3 in February from 65.2 in January. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth, economists had expected the barometer to show a much more modest drop to 63.0.

Financials shares drifted lower as investors weighed the sector’s exposure to Russia. Energy stocks moved up as oil prices rose on concerns over possible supply disruptions.

Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase both declined more than 4 percent. Goldman Sachs shed about 2.5 percent. McDonalds, Nike, P&G, Visa, IBM and 3M lost 1 to 2 percent.

Chevron moved up more than 2 percent. Boeing gained nearly 2 percent and Salesforce.com advanced 1.2 percent.

Tesla shares surged higher, buoyed by reports that the company’s proposal to set up a factory in Brandenburg, Germany, is in the final phase of the approval process.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets closed weak. The pan European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.09 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended 0.42 percent down. Germany’s DAX slid 0.73 percent and France’s CAC 40 declined 1.39 percent.

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