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S&P 500 Skids as Geopolitical Tensions Flare; Fed Minutes Eyed


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By Yasin Ebrahim — The S&P 500 fell Wednesday, as Russian-Ukraine tensions weighed on sentiment offsetting positive economic data showing the consumer remains in good shape.

The S&P 500 fell 0.7%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.83%, or 291 points, the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.2%.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there weren’t any signs of a “meaningful pullback” of Russian forces from the border with Ukraine. That cooled expectations for de-escalation in Ukraine-Russia tensions after Russia on Tuesday claimed that it had pulled some of its troops from the Ukraine border.

Fresh geopolitical tensions put stocks on the back foot, with tech stocks bearing the brunt of the selling.  

Big tech stumbled, pushing the broader market lower. As well as geopolitical jitters, tech was also hurt by a fall in social media stocks after Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google said it would limit ad-tracking on android powered smartphones.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB), which earlier this month flagged slowing user growth due to Apple’s privacy changes, fell more than 3%. Snap (NYSE:SNAP) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) were also down more than 3%.

NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) gave up some its gains from Tuesday, even as it announced a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover  to build automated driving systems.

The chipmaker will remain in focus as it is set to report quarterly results after the closing bell.

Energy stocks, meanwhile, bucked the broader market trend lower as fresh geopolitical tensions pushed oil prices higher.

On the economic front, meanwhile, U.S. retail sales rose by a more than expected 3.8%, the strongest monthly pace since March.

Signs of strength in the consumer, which makes up about 66% of the U.S. economy, supported investor bets for the Fed to aggressively tighten monetary policy, with the first rate hike widely expected in March. 

Monetary policy will come under added scrutiny later in the session as the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its January meeting.

S&P 500 Skids as Geopolitical Tensions Flare; Fed Minutes Eyed

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