At the start of the North American session:

  • The US stocks were higher with the S&P up 33 points and the Nasdaq up 160 points
  • Oil was lower by $0.27
  • Gold was down about -$2.30
  • European shares were higher 0.5% to 1.2%

In the forex, the USD and the JPY were the weakest of the majors while the NZD and AUD were the strongest. It looked like your classic risk on trade as anxiety seemed to have lessened after the fireworks yesterday when Putin recognized the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk and NATO nations responded with sanctions but modest sanctions.

That was the picture at the start of the day.

By the end of the day

  • US stocks closed near session lows. The Nasdaq and the Dow closed lower for the 5th consecutive day and the S&P closed lower for the 4th consecutive day. The S&P and NASDAQ closed at new 2022 lows. The NASDAQ is now down nearly 20% from its all-time high. The S&P is down near 12% from its all-time high.
  • The price of oil is trading at $92.26 that's up $0.35 on the day
  • Gold is trading up near $10 at $1907.73, after trading as low as $1889.70
  • The European equity market, the major indices all closed lower with the exception of the UK FTSE 100 which rose by a slim +0.05%

Below is a summary of the stock moves today

The highs and lows for the NA and European stock markets

In the forex, the USD is still ending mixed with a lower bias but the greenback is off its lows vs the major currencies. The NZD remained as the strongest. The GBP was the weakest followed by EUR.

The strongest to weakest of the major currencies

The catalyst for the moves?

Russia forces continued to move toward the north, east, and south borders of Ukraine with expectations for a invasion within 48 hours. I know, we have heard this story before with Biden first talking of an imminent attack on February 11. However, intelligence now shows troops numbering 190,000 and along all the flanks of Ukraine with the exception of the Western front.

In addition to the normal moves with stocks mostly leading the way, commodities like corn and wheat soared. Corn, a key export from Ukraine trade to the highest level since June 2014. Wheat which both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters, search to the highest level since December 2012.

With inflation already elevated in most countries, the threat of wars and sanctions and supply constraints within the commodity sector, is not a great picture for global growth or future inflation trends.

As a result markets will continue to remain defensive as the dust gets stirred up and the uncertainty from a invasion and subsequent sanctions weighs on the global economy.

Buckle up. The ride make it a little bit more volatile before it calms down.