Thursday March 10th


Dow futures fall 400 points after talks between Russia and Ukraine falter

U.S. stock market index futures dropped in early trading Thursday as peace talks between Ukraine and Russia showed little progress on key issues. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped about 400 points, or 1.2%. S&P 500 futures shed 1.3% and Nasdaq 100 futures were 1.6% lower. Negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers ended with little progress on matters including a cease-fire and safe passage of fleeing civilians. Markets have been tied closely to the conflict and have been inversely correlated with energy prices, which have been on a tear higher during the Russia-Ukraine war. A day after West Texas Intermediate crude tumbled more than 12%, the U.S. benchmark climbed about 4% to $112.98. Brent crude oil, which tumbled 13% on Wednesday, rose nearly 5% on Thursday to $116.50. Other commodities that have seen significant rallies since the war in Ukraine also pulled back Wednesday, including silver and wheat. Investors have been worried about the impact of high prices on economic growth. Elsewhere in markets, Amazon shares jumped more than 6% in premarket trading after the  company announced a 20-for-1 stock split and $10 billion buyback. CrowdStrike rallied nearly 11% premarket following an earnings beat and raising its outlook. The consumer price index, a key inflation gauge, showed a wide-ranging basket of goods and services increased 7.9% in February, a fresh 40-year high. This was a touch higher than the estimate of 7.8% for the year, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones. On a month-over-month basis, the CPI gain was 0.8%., compared to the estimate of 0.7% for the month. “The inflation situation is getting worse, not better. Household staples are becoming more and more expensive, crowding out spending on discretionary categories and delaying the spending reallocation back to services. And while gas prices explain much of the story, food and housing prices were also key drivers in February,” said John Leer, Morning Consult’s Chief Economist. “Unfortunately the war in Ukraine will make it more difficult to get inflation under control. Gas and energy prices continue to rise, wheat prices are through the roof and supply chains remain in chaos,” Leer added. The European Central Bank on Thursday opted to keep interest rates unchanged, remaining cautious about the potential economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ECB’s decision comes ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank is expected to raise rates. Weekly initial jobless claims are also slated to come out Thursday and are expected to total 216,000. In Wednesday’s trading session, the Dow rose more than 650 points. The S&P 500 climbed 2.6% for its best day since June 2020. The Nasdaq Composite gained 3.6% for its best day since November 2020. “It is somewhat typical of a high volatility environment where you can get just wicked swings in both directions,” said Liz Ann Sonders, Charles Schwab chief investment strategist. “A relief rally is probably the best way to describe what happened in the markets. ... It doesn’t surprise me to see a very sharp countertrend move.” Shares in Asia-Pacific jumped on Thursday, following an overnight bounce on Wall Street after oil prices fell sharply from a recent surge. Asia markets responded on Thursday to the overnight declines in oil prices. China, India, Japan and South Korea are all major importers of oil, according to 2020 data from the International Energy Agency. The Nikkei 225 in Japan led gains among the region’s major markets as it jumped 3.94% to close at 25,690.40 while the Topix index climbed 4.04% to 1,830.03. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed 1.27% higher at 20,890.26. Mainland Chinese stocks closed in positive territory, with the Shanghai composite gaining 1.22% to 3,296.09 while the Shenzhen component surged 2.179% to 12,370.95. South Korea’s Kospi also gained 2.21% on the day to 2,680.32, with markets returning to trade from Wednesday’s presidential election which saw conservative opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol emerging victorious. Oil prices rose on Thursday following a sharp drop in the previous session as the market contemplated whether major producers would boost supply to help plug the gap in output from Russia due to sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine. Brent crude futures were up 4.9% at $116.80 per barrel. The benchmark contract slumped 13% in the previous session in its biggest one-day drop in nearly two years. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $113.27, for a gain of 4.3%. The contract had tumbled 12.5% in the previous session in the biggest daily decline since November. Gold firmed on Thursday after a sharp correction in the previous session as worries over the Russia-Ukraine crisis persisted after no progress was made in talks between the two sides, while key U.S. inflation data is also likely to provide direction. Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,996.09 per ounce by 1047 GMT after tumbling as much as 3% on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures gained 0.7% to $2,002.40.