Dow Plunges 250 points As Investors Watch Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Fed’s Hikes

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Ruffer Investment
Ruffer Investment

The major averages plunged on Monday as investors’ concerns grow over the tension between Russia and Ukraine, in addition to the Federal Reserve’s plan to hike interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 270 points, pulled down by losses in Cisco and Chevron. The S&P 500 plummeted 0.6%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 0.1%.

Lately, stocks have been reacting to any news related to Russia-Ukraine. Oil prices were trading lower for most of the trading day Monday. In the afternoon, however, West Texas Intermediate futures surged 2.6% to above $95 per barrel, while stocks plunged. 

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The Cboe Volatility Index — which is known as Wall Street’s fear gauge — surged to its session highs in afternoon trading to around 31. It was up more than 3 points, or 12.9%, on the day.

The risk-off move hit industrial stocks like Caterpillar and Boeing, each falling 1.5%. Tech giants Apple and Microsoft also fell 1%. Meta Platforms dropped 2%.

“The outlook for global equity markets remains weak in our view, with markets under pressure not just because of rising bond yields globally and the prospect of rate hikes, but also geopolitical tensions,” said David Sneddon, technical analyst at Credit Suisse.

Still, it wasn’t all pessimistic positioning on Monday. The VanEck Russia ETF, U.S.-traded security which invests in top Russian companies, remained in the green, along with the Russian ruble vs. the U.S. dollar. The VanEck Russia ETF lost more than 7.5% on Friday.

Meanwhile, oil stocks plunged on Monday. Exxon Mobil fell 1.4% and ConocoPhillips slipped 1.8%.

On Monday morning, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC in an interview that the central bank needed to fight inflation more aggressively.

“I do think we need to front-load more of our planned removal of accommodation than we would have previously. We’ve been surprised to the upside on inflation. This is a lot of inflation,” Bullard told CNBC’s Steve Liesman during a live “Squawk Box” interview.