Stocks plunge, oil hits $100 per barrel as Russia invades Ukraine

The U.S. stock market opened with heavy losses Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ukraine, triggering international condemnation and another round of bruising financial sanctions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a loss of more than 800 points, falling 2.4 percent. The Nasdaq composite was down 2.2 percent, and the S&P 500 index opened with a loss of 2.1 percent.

Oil prices also continued to climb overnight as investors braced for a major disruption to global energy markets. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate Crude, the baseline for U.S. oil prices, was up to $98.78 shortly after 9:30 a.m. Intercontinental Exchange Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, reached $104.15 a barrel.

Thursday’s opening losses came after stock futures dropped and oil prices rose sharply Wednesday night, soon after Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine after days of sharply escalating tensions.

Government officials, economists and financial experts have warned for weeks that a major war in Europe would shake the global economy. Russia is a major producer of petroleum, natural gas and certain key minerals. Energy prices are expected to rise as both the U.S. and Europe depend more on domestic supply and other friendly sources.

President Biden and Western allies quickly condemned Putin for launching the invasion and pledged to impose new coordinated financial penalties on key Russian officials, businesses and industries.

Biden is meeting with his Group of Seven counterparts Thursday morning and plans to announce “the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”

Financial sanctions on the Russian energy sector could wallop the country’s most economically and geopolitically important industries, but at the risk of higher gas and energy prices for U.S. and European consumers. The U.S. and Western allies could also target Russian banks, businesses and billionaires closely associated with Putin or the Russian government.

Tags Energy gas prices Joe Biden Oil prices Price of oil Ukraine invasion Vladimir Putin

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