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Stocks Slip as Ukraine Crisis Remains on Brink

  • Equities across the European session traded shakily, but broadly mixed in early trade. This soon gave way into the NY crossover, however, with equities sliding as Russia-West tensions escalated despite the supposed demobilization of Russian military assets on Ukraine's borders. Russia expelled the deputy US ambassador from Moscow in what was framed as a tit-for-tat move, suggesting that diplomatic relations may have to get worse before they get better. Focus shifts to a potential face-to-face meeting held between foreign ministers Lavrov and Blinken in an attempt at finding a resolution.
  • As such, headline stocks were all seen lower from the opening bell, with the tech and growth-led NASDAQ again leading losses to drop close to 2%. Unsurprisingly, tech and communication services names were at the bottom of the sector breakdown, with just consumer staples higher - as a solid earnings update from Walmart buoyed sentiment.
  • Thursday's downside in the e-mini S&P keeps the outlook negative for now, with downside impetus strengthened by the failure of the contract to hold above the 50-day EMA - at 4549.15. This average represents a firm resistance and a clear break would suggest scope for a stronger rally towards 4671.75 initially, Jan 18 high. Recent bearish candle patterns have exposed 4212.75 the key downside target.
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