U.S. stock-index futures were headed sharply lower Monday evening as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to separatist areas within Ukraine, after recognizing their independence, a move that some fear puts Ukraine and Russia one step closer to military conflict.
Markets in the U.S. were closed in observance of Presidents Day and trade on Tuesday will provide the first opportunity for investors to react to developments in Eastern Europe.
How are stock-index futures performing?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
were trading 512 points, or 1.5%, lower to reach around 33,500.
Futures for the S&P 500 index
were trading 74.25 points, or 1.7%, lower at about 4,269.
Those for the Nasdaq-100
were sinking by roughly 326 points, or 2.3%, to reach around 13,669.
On Friday, the Dow
dropped 232.85 points, or 0.7%, to close at 34,079.18; the S&P 500
fell 31.39 points, or 0.7%, to end at 4,348.87; and the Nasdaq Composite
declined 168.65 points, or 1.2%, to finish at 13,548.07. A so-called death cross crystallized in the Nasdaq, a bearish chart pattern.
For the week, the Dow booked a 1.9% slump, the S&P 500 fell 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite ended down 1.8%, marking the second consecutive week of declines.
What’s driving the market?
Markets were set for big losses on Tuesday as Putin ordered forces Monday to “maintain peace” in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. The announcement raised fears, which have kept investors skittish, that an invasion was about to materialize.
The White House said President Joe Biden will issue an executive order that “will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons’’ in those areas.
Meanwhile, officials from the European Union referred to Putin’s latest moves, including the recognition of the independence of the Russian separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ independence, as “a blatant violation of international law.”
Read: What a Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean for markets as Putin orders troops to separatist regions
Markets have been unsettled at least partly due to concerns of a Russian annexation of Ukraine, which could lead to greater global tensions. Crude-oil futures and those for natural gas
have been mostly buoyed by invasion fears, though gains last week were muted for West Texas Intermediate crude
traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the U.S. benchmark contract.
Read more: Oil rises and natural gas surges 8% as Russia orders troops to Ukraine
Also: Gold rallies to highs not seen in more than a year as Russia’s Putin orders forces to breakaway regions in Ukraine