After Market: Russians March into Ukraine, Investors Rush for the Exits

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March came in like a bear on Wall Street Monday -- a Russian bear. Russian troops are occupying Ukrainian soil and that's causing fear in markets around the world. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) tumbled 153 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) fell 13 points from Friday's record high, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 30.

For what it's worth, the market has posted sharp losses on the first trading day of January, February, and now March. Despite Monday's broad-based sell-off, though, traders said activity was pretty normal. There was no panic selling.

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Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images
Many big European stocks that trade in the U.S. plunged, along with the handful of Russian stocks that trade here. Yandex (YNDX), the internet search company often described as the Russian Google, tumbled 14 percent. Qiwi (QIWI), the Russian mobile payment company, lost 16 percent; VimpelCom (VIP), a telecom firm, lost 5 percent; and oil company Lukoil (LUKOY) fell 6 percent.

Among the big name European stocks traded on U.S. exchanges, Siemens (SI) fell nearly 4 percent, while drug makers Novartis (NVS) and Sanofi (SNY) lost 2.5 percent each.

Airline stocks hit turbulence, hurt by another round of weather related cancellations, and worries that travel to Europe could be curtailed. United (UAL), Delta (DAL), American (AAL) and JetBlue (JBLU) all lost about 2 percent.

But the price of gold rallied, as it usually does in times of political unrest, and that boosted mining stocks. Newmont (NEM) and Goldcorp (GOLD) both gained 1.5 percent.

Elsewhere, cigarette maker Lorillard (LO) jumped 9 percent on a Financial Times report that rival Reynolds American (RAI) could make a bid. Lorillard gets most of its revenue from its Newport brand, and it now has a leading e-cigarette brand. Reynolds rose 5 percent.

Visa (V) was the downside leader among the Dow stocks, losing more than 2 percent. Walt Disney (DIS) and 3M both (MMM) fell nearly 2 percent.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) fell 5 percent. The owner of the Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, lowered its earnings forecast, partly blaming the weather.

And Twitter (TWTR) fell more than 2 percent even though it's considered one of the big winners from Sunday night's Oscars broadcast.

What to Watch Tuesday:
  • President Barack Obama is expected to release his 2015 budget.
  • The Senate Banking Committee will question three of President Obama's nominees for the Fed, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
  • European automakers unveil their latest models at the Geneva Motor Show, which opens to media Tuesday.
These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial statements:
  • Autozone (AZO)
  • E.W. Scripps (SSP)
  • RadioShack (RSH)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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