U.S. stock gauges tumbled Thursday morning as Russia, brushing aside the threat of further Western sanctions, mounted a wide-ranging and long-feared attack on Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 802 points, or 2.4%, to reach 32,290, heading for its first correction in two years.
The S&P 500 index
decline 108 points, or 2.6%, to reach 4,119.
The Nasdaq Composite Index
fell 3.2% to reach 12,624, falling well below 12,845.95, the level that would represent a 20% drop from its recent peak and mark the first bear market for the index in about 2 years.
Investors were selling assets perceived as risky such as stocks and seeking safety, pushing down yields of government bonds, including Treasurys, boosting the dollar, and rallying gold to its highest level in more than a year.
In a televised address, Putin claimed the operation in Ukraine was in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He said Russia doesn’t intend to occupy Ukraine and said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.” The Russia president also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”