Dow, Nasdaq down more than 2% as investors await Biden comments

FILE PHOTO - Trader works on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO – A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

February 22, 2022

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were sharply lower in afternoon trading on Tuesday, with the Dow and Nasdaq each down more than 2%, with investor jitters rising over the Ukraine-Russia crisis ahead of an expected update from U.S. President Joe Biden.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that the alliance believed Russia was still planning a big assault on Ukraine following Moscow’s recognition of two separatist regions in the former Soviet republic’s east.

The prospect of harsh Western sanctions against Russia kept investor uncertainty high.

The Kremlin said it remained open to diplomacy with the United States and other countries as it faced actions from a slew of countries. Britain published a list of sanctions and Germany froze the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, which would have significantly increased the flow of Russian gas.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 692.09 points, or 2.03%, to 33,387.09, the S&P 500 lost 78.39 points, or 1.80%, to 4,270.48 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 288.67 points, or 2.13%, to 13,259.40.

“The short term news around Ukraine it’s very important for the minute-by-minute pricing, but over the course of 2022 it’s the (Federal Reserve) and inflation that’s gonna write the story, not what happens in Ukraine, as regrettable as the situation is there,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer, Independent Advisor Alliance, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Home Depot Inc slid 9.8% after the home improvement chain reported a decline in gross profit margins for the holiday quarter due to a jump in transportation and labor costs. Its stock was the biggest drag on the Dow.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Additional reporting by Susan Mathew and Devik Jain in Bengaluru and Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Matthew Lewis)

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