Stocks slumped Thursday as investors kept a wary eye on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and fled riskier corners of the market.
The Dow Jones Industrials hurtled earthward 622.24 points, or 1.8%, to 34,312.03. Thursday marked the blue-chip average’s worst daily performance of the year.
The S&P 500 fell 94.75 points, or 2.1%, to 4,380.26.
The NASDAQ caved 407.38 points, or 2.9%, to 13,716.72.
On Thursday, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said the conflict had reached a “crucial moment” and that Russia is moving toward “an imminent invasion.” Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of attacking a village near the border.
President Joe Biden on Thursday warned that the threat of Russia invading Ukraine is “very high,” telling reporters that an attack could come within “the next several days.”
Consumer staples — known as defensive stocks that tend to be stable regardless of how the overall market performs — were the top-performing sector, climbing nearly 1%.
Walmart led the consumer staples sector after a quarterly report that topped expectations and reaffirmed guidance. The big-box retailer’s shares rose 4%.
Investors also digested a slew of corporate earnings reports.
Palantir sunk 15.8% after the company missed profit expectations. Nvidia fell 7.5% despite a better-than-expected earnings report as the chip maker’s first-quarter gross margin guidance came in slightly lower than analysts expected.
Cisco rose 2.7% after the company also topped estimates and raised guidance. DoorDash saw its shares jump 10.7% after reporting better-than-expected revenue and order numbers.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims numbers came in at 248,000, rising from the previous week and above the 218,000 expected, according to a Dow Jones estimate. Housing permits for January showed a surprise increase, but housing starts lagged expectations.
Prices for 10-year Treasurys moved higher, weighing yields to 1.97%, from Wednesday’s 2.03%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices slipped $2.09 to $91.57 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices leaped $28.80 to $1,900.30 U.S. an ounce.