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US equities again buckle under geopolitical pressure

US stock indices sold off sharply on Thursday, February 17, amid renewed escalation of tensions in eastern Ukraine. In addition, the inevitable tightening by central banks in the face of protracted inflation across the country triggered a negative outlook for risk-sensitive assets.

US benchmarks predictably extended losses, down 2-3%, while the DJIA had is worst day since the beginning of 2022. Right now, the bears are visibly in command of the market.

Key market stats
NASDAQ Composite: 13,716 (-2.88%)
S&P 500: 4,380 (-2.12%)
DJIA: 34,312 (-1.78%)

In premarket trading, SPX 500 CFDs are on a negative trajectory. The index is approaching a key support level located at 4,350. The odds of a downside breakout are high as fundamental factors reinforce the current downtrend (see below the CFD chart on the SPX 500 from MT4).

Economic events

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased by 23,000 last week to 248k, the highest level in four weeks.

The number of housing starts in the US decreased by 4.1% in January based on revised data for the previous month.

Corporate segment

Nvidia Corp. plunged 7.5%. The GPU maker posted record quarterly revenue for Q4 2021, but investors fear geopolitical instability, as a result of which the name retreated.

The market cap of US Foods Holding decreased by 1.1%. One of the largest food producers in the US released a strong quarterly report, but adjusted profit guidance for 2022 fell short of market expectations.

Shares of Walmart Inc., the largest US retailer, surged 4% by the close. The company unexpectedly reported an uptick in revenue and boosted dividend payouts.

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