December 22, 2014
Russia sanctions worry hits Wall St; techs weigh
US stocks fell led by losses in the technology and materials sectors, as geopolitical concerns rose after the United States and the European Union agreed to work together on tougher sanctions on Russia.
Trading remained choppy with US stocks mostly positive in the morning after US economic data pointed to improving conditions. But the major indexes reversed course in the afternoon as technology stocks turned sharply lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 98.89 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 16,268.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 13.06 points, or 0.70 percent, to finish at 1,852.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 60.69 points, or 1.43 percent, to close at 4,173.58.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a widely used gauge of investor sentiment on Wall Street, rose 6.5 percent to end at 14.93. The VIX usually moves inversely to the S&P 500.
Biotech stocks, which have sold off sharply in recent sessios, extended their losses. The Nasdaq biotechnology index slid 1.9 percent to end at 2,455.84.
The S&P materials sector index tumbled 1.4 percent and ranked as the biggest decliner among 10 S&P sector indexes.
The only positive sector was the S&P healthcare sector index , up just 0.1 percent for the day.
After the bell, the US Federal Reserve objected to plans by Citigroup and four other banks to return capital to shareholders, saying it had uncovered deficiencies during an annual test of their financial robustness.
Citigroup shares fell more than 5 percent in extended-hours trading following the news. The shares had ended the regular session at $50.16, down 0.3 percent.
European stocks rose as easing tensions over Ukraine and positive US economic data helped the market extend the recovery rally that started in mid-March.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares added 0.7 percent at 1,319.38 points. The benchmark index has risen 3.3 percent since mid-March.Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average rose on strong U.S. consumer confidence data and easing concerns over the Ukraine crisis, though it failed to break a key technical resistance level. The Nikkei tacked on 0.4 percent to 14,477.16, underperforming many of its regional peers and stalling before the 200-day moving average of 14,513.21.