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US equities plunge amid turmoil in East Ukraine

Exacerbation of geopolitical tensions in East Ukraine amid Russia's recognition of the independence of the DPR and LPR exerted a powerful impact on global markets. US benchmarks are trading 1.5-2% lower this morning in pre-market trading. That said, it should be noted that investment strategies remain largely unchanged. Market participants are exiting risk-sensitive assets, expecting QE to be wound down, with a hike in the Fed's near-zero interest rates coming up soon. The escalation of geopolitical tensions adds fuel to the fire.

Closes
NASDAQ Composite: 13,548 (-1.23%)
S&P 500: 4,348 (-0.72%)
DJIA: 34,079 (-0.68%)

In technical terms, the picture for high-risk stocks looks unchanged, with SPX 500 CFDs still trading within a downward medium-term trend.  The key 4,300 support level was breached.  If bearish sentiment gains traction at this level, and there is no lack of fundamental factors, we could see a leg down to 4,200 (see below the CFD chart on the SPX 500 from MT4).

News and macro data

US investors left for a long weekend after the Friday session. Monday, February 21, was a national holiday stateside - Washington's Birthday, or Presidents Day. Shares were not traded on the NASDAQ and the NYSE.

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