Investors were focused on a deteriorating crisis between Russia and Ukraine, which resulted in a fire at a nuclear power plant earlier in the day, as U.S. equities ended lower Friday, with all three major indexes losing ground for the week.
As sanctions on Russia threatened to impair supplies of oil, natural gas, industrial metals, and cereals, commodity prices rose.
Stocks slumped on Friday morning as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overshadowed solid U.S. job figures for February.
In a phone interview, Ellen Hazen, chief market strategist at F.L.Putnam, said, “You couldn’t have asked for a better jobs report, and yet the market is getting it on the chin today.”
“The markets are being driven by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine,” she added.
The news of a now-extinguished fire at a nuclear power station in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, which had been attacked by Russian soldiers, drew investors’ attention.
According to Associated Press reporting, the plant contains six reactors, three of which were shut down before the attack, the Russian military has taken control of Europe’s largest nuclear power station.
Hazen told MarketWatch, Russia’s takeover of the nuclear plant raises fears that its troops may continue to take control of other Ukrainian infrastructures such as energy, water, and telecommunications.
Later, Ukrainian state emergency services claimed on Facebook that the fire was contained in a training building. Early Friday assessments by the area military agency revealed that radiation levels were “unchanged” and posed no threat to the people.
In a message to customers, a Saxo Bank strategy team stated, “Traders may be unwilling to hold risk over the weekend, given the reality of a hot war in Ukraine and the fact that the situation might progress in any direction.”