"After a rough start to the year, February was very strong and many indexes achieved new highs," remarked Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Well, the unsettling situation in Ukraine and the evolving situation between Russia and the rest of the world has taken center stage and created a lot of uncertainty. The markets don't like uncertainty, and selling is usually the quickest solution for your average investor. That's exactly what we saw today, as many participants simply unloaded their positions." With sellers holding the reins, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent the day trekking lower, ultimately closing with a triple-digit loss.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,168.03) headed lower out of the gate and traded in negative territory for the entire session, hitting an intraday low of 16,071.25 and finally closing down 153.7 points, or 0.9%. It was the blue-chip index's worst single-day loss since Feb. 3. All 30 Dow components were lower on the day, but the best performer on a relative scale was The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD), which only dropped a fraction of a point. Visa Inc (NYSE:V) was at the back of the pack, down 2% today.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,845.73) declined 13.7 points, or 0.7%, to move south of the psychologically important 1,850 level. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,277.30) logged a drop of 30.8 points, or 0.7%.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.00) surged 2 points, or 14.3%, today, amid rising uncertainty and heightened selling pressure across equity indexes. The VIX hadn't closed north of 16 since Feb. 6.
A Trader's Take:
"Gold and bonds are starting to see considerable interest, as investors rushed to potential safe havens," noted Bell. "One other bright spot for today's market was the outperformance of the materials sector, which was mainly due to the strong day from gold miners."
5 Items on Our Radar Today:
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
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