Stocks knocked by Ukraine fears; Dow falls as much as 250 points

U.S. stocks declined sharply on Monday, sliding along with other global equities, as worries about Russian intervention in the Ukraine has investors fleeing assets perceived as risky.

Gold prices rose and U.S. Treasury yields fell on heightened tensions involving Russia’s threat to use military force in Ukraine, which mobilized its army and requested foreign observers. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev Monday after says Russia risked possible sanctions.

“Certainly this might go on for a couple days, but ultimately what matters for stock prices is earnings. This might cause some near-term turbulence, but there is no reason to think this is the end of the rally,” Dan Greenhaus, chief market strategist at BTIG, told CNBC.

Stocks fell to session lows amid unconfirmed reports, from Reuters citing Interfax, that Russian forces may have given Ukrainian forces in Crimea some sort of ultimatum.

“The Crimean showdown has subsequently morphed investors’ torment over demonstrations in Kiev to something on a potentially graver scale,” Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers, wrote in an emailed note.

Name Price Change %Change
DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 16111.26
-210.45 -1.29%
S&P 500 S&P 500 Index 1839.87
-19.58 -1.05%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 4248.87
-59.25 -1.38%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 235.27 points, or 15 percent, to 16,086.44, with Visa pacing losses that included all 30 of the blue-chip index’s 30 components.

The S&P 500 dropped 23.86 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,835.59, with technology leading declines that extended to all 10 of its major sectors.

The Nasdaq fell 54.57 points, or 1,3 percent, to 4,253.54.

For every stock rising, more than three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 254 million shares traded as of 11:40 a.m. Eastern. Composite volume approached 1.4 billion.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose $32.50, or 2.5 percent, to $1,354.10 an ounce. Crude-oil futures for April delivery added $2.30, or 2.2 percent, to $104.89 a barrel.

On Sunday, Russia’s energy minister canceled his appearance this week before a major global energy conference in Houston, where the Russian invasion of Crimea has now become a part of the agenda.

(Read: Russian energy minister withdraws from conference)

The dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the 10-year Treasury yield fell 4 basis points to 2.609 percent.

After pegging a slew of recent economic data that disappointed as related to the weather, investors on Monday bypassed better-than-forecast economic reports.

The Institute for Supply Management reported on manufacturing activity in February, with the reading at a better-than-expected 53.2.

And, ahead of Wall Street’s open, U.S. stock-index futures retained steep losses after figures from the Commerce Department had consumer spending rising more than projected in January, with household purchases up 0.4 percent after a minuscule 0.1 percent gain the prior month.

On Friday, U.S. stocks lost much of their gains, with the S&P 500 still managing a record close and equities posting a monthly gain.

—By CNBC’s Kate Gibson

Coming Up This Week:

Tuesday

Earnings: AutoZone, Smith & Wesson, Bob Evans, Bank of Nova Scotia, Veeva Systems, ABM Industries, Insys Therapeutics

10:00 a.m.: Senate Banking confirmation hearing for Stanley Fischer for Fed vice chair and Lael Brainard as Fed governor

Wednesday

Earnings: Brown-Forman, Hovnanian, PetSmart, Canadian Solar, Envision Healthcare, Semtech, WuXi Pharma

8:15 a.m.: ADP employment

8:58 a.m.: Services PMI

10:00 a.m.: ISM nonmanufacturing

2:00 p.m.: Beige Book

Thursday

Earnings: Costco, Joy Global, Kroger, Staples, Cooper Cos, Fresh Market, H&R Block, Finisar, Ciena

Bank of England rates meeting

European Central Bank rate meeting

Monthly chain store sales

8:30 a.m.: Initial claims

8:30 a.m.: Productivity and costs

10:00 a.m.: Factory orders

Friday

Earnings: Foot Locker

8:30 a.m.: Employment report

8:30 a.m.: International trade

3:00 p.m.: Consumer credit

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