Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Ukraine’s Lugansk region on February 24, 2022.
Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images
Global markets plunged Thursday after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine in the early morning hours. Dow and S&P 500 futures dropped more than 2% each. Nasdaq futures sank nearly 3%. Losses of this magnitude at the open would put the Nasdaq in a bear market, as defined by declines of 20% or more from recent highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday joined the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in correction territory. The Dow and Nasdaq logged their fifth straight session of losses. The S&P 500 saw its losing streak extend to four sessions in row. Investors sought the perceived safety of bonds, pushing prices higher and yields lower Thursday. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.86%.
U.S. crude and international oil prices spiked more than 8% on Thursday, both topping $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014. Shares of American oil companies, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil, were among the beneficiaries in premarket trading. The reason for the surge in energy prices: Russia is a major global producer of oil and natural gas, which surged 6% on Thursday.
Any long-term spike in energy prices could exacerbate soaring inflation in the U.S. and complicate the Federal Reserve‘s path for multiple interest rate increases this year. On one hand, central bankers need to weigh the possibly of even stronger price pressures — which could argue for more aggressive hikes — against a knock on the economy and markets — which could argue for a more gradual tightening.
Gold surged more than 3% on Thursday to more than $1,970 per ounce, the highest prices in over a year. Like bonds, gold is seen a haven in times of geopolitical turmoil. Bitcoin, viewed in crypto circles as a store of value like gold, plunged roughly 7% on Thursday to a one-month low of around $35,100.
The world’s biggest digital currency has been trading more like a tech stock recently, now down about 50% from all-time highs of roughly $69,000 in early November. More than $150 billion has been wiped off the entire crypto market in the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Russia’s wide-ranging attack Thursday on Ukraine included airstrikes in cities and bases, and ground movements. Ukraine’s government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border and accused Moscow of unleashing a “full-scale war.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said overnight that the goal of the “special military operation” in Ukraine is “demilitarization.”
U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to address the nation Thursday afternoon. Ahead of the attack, the United States and other Western nations levied sanctions against Russia. A second wave of economically punitive measures is widely expected. NATO will “further increase our presence in the eastern part of the alliance” in the coming days and weeks, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.
Moderna’s Covid vaccine is prepared for administration at Union Station in Los Angeles on January 7, 2022.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
Moderna said Thursday it anticipates selling at least $19 billion of its Covid vaccine this year, after reporting quarterly results that blew out analyst earnings and revenue estimates. The company’s shares fell about 5% in the broader premarket sell-off. Moderna is conducting a clinical trial for a booster shot that specifically targets the omicron variant. However, it’s unclear whether there will be strong demand for such a shot, as new infections from the variant have dropped sharply in the U.S. and other parts of the world.