The Dow (INDU)
fell nearly 300 points in midday trading, a 0.8% drop. The S&P 500 (SPX)
and Nasdaq (COMP)
Composite were down 1.1% and 1.7%.
All three indexes were on track to finish the week in the red. On Thursday, as fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine deepened, Wall Street retreated, sending the Dow down 622 points, or 1.8% — its worst day so far this year.
Overnight, global markets were mostly stable.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 and Japan’s benchmark Nikkei (N225)
closed down 1% and 0.4%, respectively, while South Korea’s Kospi (KOSPI)
was little changed.
Chinese markets were mixed: The benchmark Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP)
Index gained 0.7%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI)
In Europe, stocks were little changed at the open. London’s FTSE 100 (UKX)
and France’s CAC 40 (CAC40)
each rose 0.2%, while Germany’s DAX (DAX)
ticked up 0.1%.
Market watchers are nervous about what a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine could mean for oil prices and the global economy, especially if the United States and major economies in Europe become involved.
Investors detest uncertainty
. A full-blown invasion of Ukraine would trigger a knee-jerk selloff in stocks as businesses confront the possibility of an oil shock, higher inflation and a sanctions regime.
A prolonged market downturn would wipe out wealth built up by families in the stock market and in retirement accounts. Market instability could also dent confidence among consumers and businesses.
-— Paul R. La Monica, Charles Riley and Matt Egan contributed to this report.