Stocks Post Another Weekly Loss as Earlier Gains Wane…..

U.S. equities finished lower, posting another week of losses in the process, as early gains that followed positive comments from Russian President Putin noting certain positive shifts in Ukraine talks, were curbed by reports that Russia has intensified its invasion in the country. Some news out of Washington was digested, as the Senate passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus bill yesterday that will avert a partial government shutdown and will provide $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine, among other provisions. On the equity front, Oracle Corporation missed earnings forecasts, but revenue grew in line with expectations. In economic news, the preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for March showed that sentiment cooled more than expected, and the 1-year inflation expectation was the highest since 1981. Treasuries were mixed, and the U.S. dollar moved higher, while gold was lower, and crude oil prices rebounded from a two-day drawdown. Europe finished broadly higher amid hopes of possible progress on the geopolitical front, while markets in Asia were mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 230 points (0.7%) to 32,944, the S&P 500 Index lost 55 points (1.3%) to 4,204, and the Nasdaq Composite decreased 286 points (2.2%) to 12,844. In heavy volume, 4.9 billion shares of NYSE-listed stocks were traded, and 5.2 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil advanced $3.31 to $109.33 per barrel. Elsewhere, the gold spot price traded $11.00 lower to $1,989.40 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was up 0.6% at 99.13. Markets were lower on the week, as the DJIA was down 2.0%, the S&P 500 lost 2.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite sank 3.5%.

Stocks posted another weekly loss, despite an early rally that came following comments from Russian President Putin suggesting there may be positive shifts in Ukraine talks. Volatility, however, persisted as investors continued to assess the geopolitical tensions, increasing commodity prices, inflation, and monetary policy moves. The positive comments from Putin were unexpected, as another round of talks between Russia and Ukraine yesterday ended without any progress on a ceasefire, and reports of Russia intensifying its invasion dominated the news afterwards. As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and other global allies have levied crippling financial sanctions, including an unprecedented move to handcuff the country’s central bank, and the U.S. and U.K. moving to ban imports of Russian energy.

The bond market has been just as volatile, with Treasury prices falling sharply from last week’s rally to boost yields. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar continued a recent run, along with gold, with both hitting mid-2020 levels, and crude oil prices resumed their march upward following a two-day reprieve.

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