U.S. stocks fall on Ukraine concerns; Dow drops 0.46%


Investing.com -

Investing.com - U.S. stocks fell on Thursday over concerns that an escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict will slow global recovery and dampen business for corporations worldwide.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 fell 0.46%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.56%, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.46%.

The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was up 1.89% at 16.88.

Reports that Russia has amassed more troops near its border with Ukraine rattled nerves on Wall Street Thursday.

Since the West slapped sanctions on for allegedly meddling in Ukraine's affairs by supporting separatists, Russian troops along the border have reportedly jumped to 20,000 from 8,000.

Earlier Thursday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Moscow to back down.

"I call on Russia to step back from the brink. Step back from the border. Do not use peacekeeping as an excuse for war-making," Rasmussen said in a statement appearing on NATO's web site.

"I urge Russia to follow the genuine path to peace. To stop its support for separatists. To pull pack its troops from Ukraine's border. And to engage in a sincere dialogue for a peaceful solution," he added.

News the U.S. is considering launching air strikes in Iraq to halt a Sunni insurgency as well as conduct airdrops of food and medicine to assist those displaced by the conflict steered investors away from equities as well.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 2 fell by 14,000 to 289,000 from the previous week's total of 303,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 2,000 to 305,000 last week, and the numbers confirmed market expectations for the Federal Reserve to close its monthly bond-buying stimulus program in October and begin hiking interest rates afterwards in 2015.

While the news painted a picture of a more robust U.S. economy, expectations for rising borrowing costs pushed down stock prices.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), up 1.28%, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), up 1.13%, and Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), up 0.45%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), down 2.74%, Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), down 1.42%, and Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), down 1.23%.

European indices, meanwhile, ended the day lower.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 1.24%, France's CAC 40 fell 1.36%, while Germany's DAX fell 1.00%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 0.58%.

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