Russia’s financial markets collapsed on Monday to their lowest level in more than a year as tensions ramped up in eastern Ukraine and the Kremlin rejected plans for a face-to-face meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden.
What Happened: The ruble and European shares tumbled, while oil prices rose, as investors are increasingly concerned about an escalation between Moscow and the West.
The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.3%. The MOEX, Russia’s benchmark stock index, dropped by 10.5%, marking its biggest daily percentage loss since March 2014 during Russia’s invasion of Crimea. The ruble also lost ground throughout the day, falling 3.4% against the dollar.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets were closed Monday for Presidents' Day, after posting losses last week as investors braced for a possible invasion of Ukraine. Futures for the S&P 500 declined almost 1.3% during Monday's shortened trading period, which was halted at 12 p.m. ET, while contracts for the tech-focused Nasdaq 100 fell 1.9% and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9%.
The futures were sharply lower when trading resumed at 6 p.m. ET on Monday. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by over 500 points, or over 1.3%. S&P 500 futures dropped by 1.7%, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell by 2.4%.
Tension Rising: Putin said Monday evening he would recognize the independence of two Russian-led breakaway regions of Ukraine.
Also on Monday, Russia said it had destroyed two Ukrainian armored vehicles inside its territory. Western leaders have warned that Putin may be looking for a false excuse to proceed with an attack.
Russia has more than 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, and Biden last week confirmed that U.S. Intelligence is warning of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Photo: Courtesy of Dmitriy Fomin on Flickr
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