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US stocks fall again as Russian invasion threat continues

<i>Shuji Kajiyama/AP</i><br/>
Shuji Kajiyama/AP

By Rishi Iyengar and Michelle Toh, CNN Business

US stocks slid Friday as investors continued to track geopolitical developments in Eastern Europe following Thursday’s steep selloff.

The Dow closed down nearly 233 points, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended the day with losses of 0.7% and 1.2%.

All three indexes finished the week in the red for the second straight week. On Thursday, as fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine deepened, Wall Street retreated, sending the Dow down 622 points, or 1.8% — its worst day so far this year.

The US stock market will be closed Monday in observance of the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Global markets were mostly stable in spite of the volatility on Wall Street.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 and Japan’s benchmark Nikkei closed down 1% and 0.4%, respectively, while South Korea’s Kospi was little changed.

Chinese markets were mixed: The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.9%.

In Europe, stocks were little changed at the open. London’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 each rose 0.2%, while Germany’s DAX ticked up 0.1%.

Market watchers are nervous about what a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine could mean for oil prices and the global economy, especially if the United States and major economies in Europe become involved.

Investors detest uncertainty. A full-blown invasion of Ukraine would trigger a knee-jerk selloff in stocks as businesses confront the possibility of an oil shock, higher inflation and a sanctions regime.

A prolonged market downturn would wipe out wealth built up by families in the stock market and in retirement accounts. Market instability could also dent confidence among consumers and businesses.

-— Paul R. La Monica, Charles Riley and Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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