(Reuters) — US stocks fell on Wednesday as Ukraine declared a state of emergency, while reports of cyberattacks on several of its state websites fueled fears of escalating tensions with Russia .
After opening higher, eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors fell, while a 2.3% drop in Tesla dragged the Nasdaq lower. Twenty of the Dow’s 30 components were trading in the red.
In the latest ominous signs of an all-out Russian military attack, Ukraine declared a state of emergency and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began to evacuate its embassy in Kyiv.
Ukraine also blamed Russia for a series of cyberattacks because its websites, including government and foreign ministry homepages, remained inaccessible.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is expected to announce that it will allow sanctions to go forward against Nord Stream 2 AG, the company responsible for building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, CNN reported, citing US officials.
“At the moment, it is unclear whether we only see geopolitical tensions that will ultimately be managed through diplomacy or whether we are heading towards a war situation,” said Geetu Sharma, Founder and Investment Manager, AlphasFuture LLC.
Energy stocks jumped 0.9% as oil prices rallied.
As of 10:29 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 86.00 points, or 0.26%, at 33,510.61, the S&P 500 was down 10.83 points, or 0.25%, at 4,293.93, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 50 points, or 0.37. %, at 13,331.52.
US equities got off to a turbulent start to 2022 as heightened geopolitical tensions hurt investor sentiment already rattled by worries about an aggressive tightening of Federal Reserve policy to fight inflation.
While megacap stocks have fallen amid inflation concerns, the Nasdaq has fallen 14% so far this year, while the S&P 500 is down around 10%. The Dow lost about 8%.
Diamondback Energy Inc rose 1.6% the U.S. shale oil producer reported upbeat fourth-quarter earnings and increased its dividend as fuel prices hit multi-year highs on stronger energy demand .
Mosaic Co fell 1.6% after the fertilizer maker reported disappointing quarterly results.
Lowe’s Cos Inc gained 3.3% after the home improvement chain raised its full-year sales and profit forecast.
Cadence Design Systems Inc jumped 8.1% as the microchip design software maker forecast higher-than-expected 2022 profits after strong fourth-quarter results.
Falling issues outnumbered advances by a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 1 new 52-week high and 15 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 221 new lows.