U.S. stock indexes fell Friday and headed for a second consecutive losing week as the Russia-Ukraine conflict loomed.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average shed about 300 points, or 0.9%. The S&P 500 lost 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite retreated 1.4%.
Stocks have struggled this week as investors continue to be on edge about the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The Wall Street Journal reported midday Friday that U.S. officials expect a Russia attack in a few days.
President Joe Biden is expected to move more U.S. troops closer to Ukraine, NBC News reported. The Ukrainian government and Russian state-controlled media on Friday exchanged fresh accusations of cease-fire violations at the border.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking to the United Nations on Thursday warned that the situation is at a “moment of peril.”
“Markets tend to overreact to geopolitical events,” Credit Suisse’s Andrew Garthwaite said in a note Friday.
Friday was particularly volatile with trillions of dollars in options and futures on stocks, indexes and ETFs set to expire. Option expiration days, which generally occur on the third Friday of the month, can cause the market to swing in a wide range as these positions are closed out.
WTI crude oil and natural gas dipped Friday and energy stocks retreated. APA eased about 1% and Schlumberger lost about 2%.
Intel was the biggest laggard on the Dow, down about 5%. Bank of America reiterated an underperform rating on the stock.
Investors have also been grappling with the outlook for Federal Reserve policy. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who had just called for aggressive action, warned that inflation could get out of control without rate hikes.
Stocks rebounded a bit off their lows after New York Fed President John Williams said he didn’t see “any compelling reason to take a big step at the beginning,” but the central bank could decide later to speed up.
The three indexes are each down around 1% on the week.
“Wall Street is feeling very jittery as it looks to the left and sees intensifying geopolitical risks with the Ukraine situation and then it looks to the right and sees the potential for aggressive Fed tightening,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a note.