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US Stocks Rally Thursday as White House Sanctions Russia Again

5:25PM ET 2/24/2022 MT Newswires
US stocks snapped a string of four consecutive declines Thursday, reversing steep morning losses as the US imposed additional sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine that stopped short of cutting the country off from the international banking system.

The S&P 500 jumped 1.5% to 4,288.70 while the Nasdaq Composite surged 3.3% to 13,473.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to 33,223.83. All three indexes ended near session highs.

Financials and consumer staples were the hardest hit sectors as the attack on Ukraine unfolded, while technology and communication services led the gains in a sharp afternoon reversal of the early losses.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 0.8% to $92.80 a barrel after topping the $100 per barrel mark earlier in the day for the first time since 2014, as concerns mounted the conflict could undermine energy supplies.

The 10-year US Treasury yield slipped 1 basis point to 1.97%, rebounding from a decline of more than 10 basis points earlier in the session.

Gold futures declined 0.5% to $1,900.20 per troy ounce. Silver was 1.6% lower at $24.21 an ounce.

Scotiabank expects the Federal Reserve to stay on course in March with a planned interest rate increase rather than suspending monetary tightening plans in response to war in Eastern Europe. Allianz adviser Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC market speculation about as many as eight or nine interest rate hikes this year is now "completely off the table."

U.S. President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on additional Russian financial institutions, freezing their assets in the US and other countries, and restricted more high-tech exports to Russia.

The US Treasury imposed sanctions on Russia's two largest financial institutions, Sberbank and VTB Bank, which together account for more than half of the Russian banking system.

The Treasury also said it would also issue sanctions against three other institutions -- Otkritie, Novikom, and Sovcom -- with combined assets of $80 billion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the military operation early Thursday. The assault began with a series of missile attacks against locations near the capital Kyiv, as well as the use of long-range artillery against Kharkiv. It quickly spread across central and eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attacked the country from three sides, according to media reports.

Berenberg expects minimal fallout for the global credit and money markets outside of Russia. Central banks including the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England can ensure global financial infrastructure continues to function smoothly, according to the note.

The US gross domestic product grew at a 7% annual rate in the second estimate for the fourth quarter, ahead of the 6.9% initial estimate and in line with forecasts.

New unemployment claims fell to 232,000 in the Feb. 19 week from a revised 249,000 in the prior week.

In company news, Moderna (MRNA) posted higher than expected fourth-quarter results, driven by sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, which the biotechnology company now expects to generate at least $19 billion in revenue in 2022. Shares surged 15%.

Enphase Energy (ENPH) shares rose 16% after the solar technology developer reporting a growing number of battery system deployments in Ohio.

Alibaba Group (BABA) reported mixed fiscal third-quarter results, with revenue falling short of analysts' consensus but earnings exceeding estimates. Shares slipped 0.7%.