After another turbulent day on Wall Street, financial stocks began lower Tuesday evening.
Concerns about the effect of sanctions imposed by governments and corporations on Russia have impacted US equities markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.7% on Tuesday, bringing its year-to-date losses to 12.5%. The Dow dropped more than 0.5%, deepening its slump, while the Nasdaq Composite extended losses after entering a bear market earlier this week.
President Joe Biden's a official statement that the United States will restrict Russian purchases of crude oil and other energy items verified earlier this week's suspicions, sending oil prices up to near 14-year highs. West Texas Intermediate oil was trading well over $120 per barrel, while Brent crude was trading around $130 per barrel. Gas prices at the pump have also reached a new high in the United States.
"You cannot have a spike in gasoline prices without it impacting the economic pockets of regular Americans, because it will increase the cost of everything," Victoria Greene, founding partner of G-Squared Private Wealth, commented. "Anything that has four or six wheels, including all of your shipment, will increase your expenditures. We're already in an inflationary atmosphere... it's something we'll have to keep an eye on."
"I don't believe sanctions are going away anytime soon," she continued. "The whole world is... enraged by this catastrophe. So, even if we somehow reach a cease-fire tomorrow, I believe the overall shrinkage and supply chain concerns will be a problem for the remainder of the year."
Aside from the expanding list of government-imposed sanctions on Russia, a slew of big U.S. corporations revealed new plans to cease doing business in Russia for the near term. McDonald's, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo have announced plans to shut part or all of their businesses in Russia. Amazon Web Services declared that it would no longer accept new sign-ups from Russia and Belarus, and Shopify announced that it would also cease business in the nations.
Given the continuous geopolitical instability and efforts to isolate Russia from the global economy, some analysts believe investors should prepare themselves for further market volatility.
"I'm not sure we've reached rock bottom yet. And I'd want to be more optimistic, but the reason I say this is because we're still seeing shocks claw their way through the system when it comes to oil and other commodities," Wheelhouse's chief investment officer, Ann Berry, said.
"We're not done with oil and gas yet," she continued. "The United Kingdom and Europe have stated that they will begin weaning themselves off Russian exports by the end of this year - but this is not quick enough. And if the situation in Ukraine does not improve, I believe there is a scenario here where Europe will be compelled to take harder moves quicker, which would send oil prices only one way, up from where they are today."
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