S&P 500 sinks further into correction, setting new 2022 low with Russia-Ukraine in focus

Stocks extended losses on Wednesday after a steep sell-off during Tuesday’s trading day, which pushed the S&P 500 and Dow to their lowest settlements so far of 2022.

[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Thursday, Feb. 24]

The S&P 500 wiped out early advances to trade sharply lower in afternoon trading. The blue-chip index had also closed lower by just over 1% on Tuesday, bringing it more than 10% from its record closing high from Jan. 3 — or below the threshold to enter a correction. The Nasdaq and Dow also rose following declines a day earlier.

Hopes of a diplomatic resolution for tensions between Russia and Ukraine appeared to deteriorate this week, as President Joe Biden publicly called Russia’s move to deploy troops to separatist regions of Ukraine “the beginning of a Russian invasion” of the region. The U.S. unleashed a first tranche of sanctions on Russian financial institutions, sovereign debt and several key individuals in the country. Late Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said he called off a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that was supposed to take place this week.

Risk assets slid on Tuesday as investors considered the financial market implications of an escalating threat of military attack and greater sanctions on Russia. As European allies also coordinated their response to Russia’s increased military presence in and around Ukraine, Germany halted approval of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that would have deepened western Europe’s energy link to Russia, the world’s largest natural gas exporter. Crude oil prices spiked to a seven-year high, and Brent crude neared $100 per barrel as investors contemplated the potential for further energy-linked sanctions on Russia, the third-largest oil producer in the world.

For U.S. investors, the mounting geopolitical concerns also further complicate the next move by the Federal Reserve, which has so far signaled it is prioritizing bringing down inflationary pressures. Though investors are already pricing in an at least 25 basis point interest rate hike from the Fed at its mid-March meeting, the tensions between Russia and Ukraine — and potential further price increases that an escalating conflict could stoke — create a further communication and policy complexity for the central bank.

“If the status quo holds, all we’re going to see is a very limited impact on growth and inflation. Should we see a full-fledged invasion followed by much tougher sanctions, then we’re going to be in a very different world,” Joe Brusuelas, RSM chief economist, told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “Our baseline is now expecting a 20% increase in the price of oil. Now that’s from two weeks ago — we’re about 7% of the way there. If that occurs, you’ll see 1% shaved off growth this year .. and you’ll see an addition 2.8% or thereabouts increase in inflation.”

“The Federal Reserve and their global central banking brethren are in a very difficult position now,” he added. “They’re going to have to hike into what could be an energy shock and a slowing global economy. My sense is the Federal Reserve ought to hike by 25 basis points at the March meeting, but they ought to use the opportunity in both the communique and the Summary of Economic Projections, to note the risks around the evolving global environment.”

4:22 p.m. ET: S&P 500 sinks further into correction, setting new 2022 low with Russia-Ukraine in focus

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:22 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -79.26 (-1.84%) to 4,225.50

  • Dow (^DJI): -464.85 (-1.38%) to 33,131.76

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -344.03 (-2.57%) to 13,037.49

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.40 (+0.44%) to $92.31 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$3.40 (+0.18%) to $1,910.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2.9 bps to yield 1.9770%

1:36 p.m. ET: Stock losses accelerate, S&P 500 and Nasdaq drop 1%

Here’s where markets were trading Wednesday afternoon:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -44.98 (-1.04%) to 4,259.78

  • Dow (^DJI): -259.73 (-0.77%) to 33,336.88

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -174.99 (-1.31%) to 13,205.06

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.07 (-0.08%) to $91.84 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$3.80 (+0.2%) to $1,911.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.7 bps to yield 1.965%

11:18 a.m. ET: Mortgage applications fell for a third straight week as rates rose

Mortgage applications slid last week to reach their lowest level since Dec. 19, posting a third consecutive weekly decline as interest rates crept higher.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly market composite index trading mortgage loan application volume fell 13.1% week-on-week for the period ended Feb. 18. This followed a more than 5% drop during the prior week.

Refinances fell by 16% over last week, and by a marked 56% compared to the same week last year. Purchases, meanwhile, fell 10% on a week-on-week basis, when adjusted for seasonality. Compared to the same period last year, purchases were down by 6%, not seasonally adjusted.

“The 30-year fixed rate was 4.06%, almost a full percentage point higher than a year ago. Higher mortgage rates have quickly shut off refinances, with activity down in six of the first seven weeks of 2022,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a press statement. “Purchase applications, already constrained by elevated sales prices and tight inventory, have also been impacted by these higher rates and declined for the third straight week. While the average loan size did not increase this week, it remained close to the survey’s record high.”

10:41 a.m. ET: Stocks turn lower with tech under renewed pressure

The three major stock indexes erased earlier gains to trade in negative territory Wednesday morning, with technology stocks swinging into sharply negative territory after advancing earlier.

The Nasdaq fell by 0.4%, after gaining more than 1% at session highs just after market open. The S&P 500 and Dow were each also off by more than 0.2%.

Within the S&P 500, the consumer discretionary sector — which houses names including Amazon, Apple and Tesla — was the biggest laggard alongside industrials and utilities. The energy sector outperformed as crude oil prices extended gains.

9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher, Nasdaq gains about 1%

Here’s where stocks were trading Wednesday morning just after market open:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +33.58 (+0.78%) to 4,338.34

  • Dow (^DJI): +207.72 (+0.62%) to 33,804.33

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +114.47 (+0.85%) to 13,493.45

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.17 (-0.18%) to $91.74 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$4.40 (-0.23%) to $1,903.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.7 bps to yield 1.965%

7:34 a.m. ET: Lowe’s shares rise after Q4 results top expectations

Shares of the second-largest home improvement giant in the U.S. gained Wednesday morning after the company posted fourth quarter results that exceeded estimates and raised its guidance for the full year.

Lowe’s (LOW) adjusted earnings per share totaled $1.78, exceeding expectations by 8 cents. Net sales were $21.34 billion, also ahead of the $20.90 billion anticipated. For the full year, closely watched comparable sales will likely come in in a range of -1% to 1% this year, the company added, with this range improving from the -3% to 0% sales growth outlook seen previously. In the fourth quarter, comparable sales grew 5%, or more than double the consensus estimate.

“In 2021, we increased comparable sales by 6.9% while generating over 170 basis points of operating margin improvement, with our relentless focus on productivity and enhanced pricing strategies,” Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s CEO and chairman, said in a press statement. “We remain confident in the long-term strength of the home improvement market, and our ability to expand operating margin.”

7:26 a.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures hold onto overnight gains

Here’s where stocks were trading before the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +26.75 points (+0.62%), to 4,326.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +177 points (+0.53%), to 33,702.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +135.00 points (+0.97%) to 13,997.75

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.36 (-0.39%) to $91.55 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$10.80 (-0.57%) to $1,896.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2.2 bps to yield 1.97%

6:13 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures recover some losses

Here were the main moves in markets Tuesday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +16.75 points (+0.39%), to 4,316.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +99 points (+0.3%), to 33,624.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +75.5 points (+0.54%) to 13,938.25

Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx 2022 2/17/22 Atmosphere at the NY Stock Exchange in New York City.

Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx 2022 2/17/22 Atmosphere at the NY Stock Exchange in New York City.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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