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US stocks fall as geopolitical risks remain

By
From page B9 | August 13, 2014 |

NEW YORK — The stock market pulled back slightly Tuesday, following two days of gains, as investors focused on the damage that ongoing geopolitical tensions were causing the global economy.

Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners, dragged down by lower oil prices.

U.S. stock indexes opened modestly higher but turned lower at mid-morning and stayed there for the rest of the day. Investors took a cue from Europe, where Germany’s benchmark index fell more than 1 percent and France’s CAC 40 fell nearly 1 percent.

An indicator of German investor confidence dropped to its lowest level in 20 months. Investors worried that the Ukraine crisis will start dragging down the German economy, Europe’s largest. The continent is much more exposed to Russia than the U.S. is. Europe also gets most of its natural gas from Russia.

The Ukraine situation has dragged the German stock market down more than 8 percent from its early July peak.

“The Ukraine-Russia situation may be at a standstill politically, but it is weighing on the German economy and, more broadly, the eurozone,” said Sean Lynch, a managing director at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

It has been a quiet week for investors overall, with little economic data or company earnings to work through. Absent hard data to pull the market higher, the current trend for the market is down, Lynch said.

Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have faded in recent days, but worries about conflicts around the globe are likely to keep investors on edge in the coming weeks.

A convoy of more than 260 Russian trucks, reportedly packed with supplies, moved toward Russia’s border with Ukraine on Tuesday, but Kiev said the goods would only be allowed to cross if they were inspected by the International Red Cross. Ukraine is fearful that Russia could use the move as a cover for sending troops into the separatist-held territory.

Investors are also watching political machinations and violence unfold in oil-rich Iraq. On Tuesday, that nation’s embattled prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, tried to stay in power as Iraqi politicians and the international community rallied behind a political competitor.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 9.44 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,560.54. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3.17 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,933.75 and the Nasdaq composite fell 12.08 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,389.25.

Energy stocks in the S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent, the most of the 10 sectors in the index. Kinder Morgan declined nearly 2 percent after rising 9 percent the day before on news it would combine several companies under its control. Anadarko Petroleum and Diamond Offshore Drilling fell more than 2 percent.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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