With fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine becoming a reality, stocks are likely to extend their recent sell-off in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a sharply lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 815 points.
The steep drop by the futures comes after Russian Vladimir Putin declared war on neighboring Ukraine late Wednesday night, officially calling the move a “special military operation.”
Rather than focusing on contested regions in the eastern part of the country as some had expected, Putin has seemingly launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine.
Reports of explosions and Russian troops crossing the border have come in from across Ukraine as part of what could be a prolonged campaign.
U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders have condemned Russia for the “unprovoked and unjustified attack,” which Biden predicted would cause a “catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”
“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way,” Biden said in a statement. “The world will hold Russia accountable.”
The U.S. and other countries around the world are expected to impose more severe sanctions on Russia following the invasion, potentially targeting the country’s all-important energy sector.
The invasion has contributed to a spike in the price of crude oil, which topped $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, raising concerns about even higher inflation.
The developments overseas have overshadowed a report from the Labor Department showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended February 19th.
Shortly after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on new home sales in the month of January.
New home sales are expected to drop by 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 806,000 in January after spiking by 11.9 percent to a rate of 811,000 in December.
Stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, extending the sell-off seen in recent sessions. The major averages moved to the upside early in the session but showed a substantial downturn as the day progressed.
The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the session near their worst levels of the day. The Dow plunged 464.85 points or 1.4 percent to 33,131.76, the Nasdaq dove 344.03 points or 2.6 percent to 13,037.49 and the S&P 500 plummeted 79.26 points or 1.8 percent to 4,225.50.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 3.2 percent.
The major European markets have also shown substantial moves to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has plummeted by 5.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 4.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 3.2 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are soaring $7.57 to $99.67 a barrel after inching up $0.19 to $92.10 on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after rising $3 to $1,910.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are spiking $53.10 to $1,963.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 114.97 yen versus the 115.01 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1163 compared to yesterday’s $1.1307.
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