The stock market fell in volatile trading on Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, a move that was met with a new round of sanctions from the West, as some officials warned that “the invasion of Ukraine has started.”
Stocks tanked amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.4%, nearly 500 points, while the S&P 500 lost 1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite 1.2%.
Global stock markets took a hit after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize the separatist states of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, ordering Russian troops to move into the region in order to “maintain peace.”
The move was widely condemned by the West, with the European Union and United Kingdom both unveiling economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, while the United States also unveiled sanctions targeting Russia’s elite, banks and sovereign debt.
Many western officials continued to warn that Russian troops moving into eastern Ukraine to keep the “peace” could be a not so subtle pretext for a full invasion, with UK Health Minister Sajid Javid saying on Tuesday that “the invasion of Ukraine has begun.”
Oil prices surged on the news, with Brent crude rising up to $94 per barrel amid concerns that Russia’s energy exports could be disrupted.
Investors also digested a slew of corporate earnings: Shares of Home Depot fell over 9% after earnings, while Macy’s fell 5% despite strong results as well as the announcement of a share buyback and dividend increase.