S&P 500 ends lower as West hits Russia with sanctions

  • Defense stocks climb amid Russia-Ukraine crisis
  • First Horizon surges on $13 bln TD deal
  • Indexes end: Dow -0.49%, S&P 500 -0.24%, Nasdaq +0.41%

Feb 28 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 ended lower after a volatile session on Monday, with investors wrestling with uncertainty and bank stocks dropping following powerful Western sanctions against Russia as it continued its invasion of Ukraine.

Helping the Nasdaq close in positive territory after opening at a loss, electric car makers Tesla (TSLA.O) and Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O) jumped 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively.

Citigroup (C.N) fell 4.5% and helped push the S&P 500 banks index (.SPXBK) down 2.35% as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield slipped. The broader S&P 500 financial index (.SPSY) dropped 1.5%.

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Global stocks slumped, the Russian rouble tanked to record lows and safe-haven assets got a boost after Western allies imposed new sanctions that limited Moscow's ability to deploy its $630 billion foreign reserves and cut off some of its banks from the SWIFT global payments system. read more

Russian artillery bombarded residential districts of Ukraine's second-largest city, as Moscow's invading forces met stiff resistance on a fifth day of conflict. read more

"The Russia-Ukraine invasion in itself is not likely going to be a long-term headwind for U.S. equities. But I think in the short term, it's a massive contributor to the equity pullback," said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs.

The S&P 500 energy sector (.SPNY) rallied 2.6%, thanks to higher oil prices.

Defense stocks Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N), Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), General Dynamics Corp , Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) and L3Harris Technologies gained between 2.8% and 8% following news that Germany would increase its military spending.

Cybersecurity stocks also rallied, with Palo Alto Networks (PANW.O), Fortinet (FTNT.O), Zscaler (ZS.O) and CrowdStrike Holdings all climbing more than 4%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 0.49% to end at 33,892.6 points, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.24% to 4,373.94.

The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) climbed 0.41% to 13,751.40, ending higher for the third straight session.

Monday's session was busy. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 14.5 billion shares, compared with the 12.2 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

The S&P 500 fell 3.15% in February, while the Nasdaq lost 3.43%. So far in 2022, the S&P 500 has lost over 8%, the index's deepest two-month decline since March 2020.

The worsening geopolitical crisis has added to investors' concerns about soaring inflation and the Federal Reserve's rate-hike plans. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq logged their biggest two-month declines since the pandemic-led crash in March 2020.

The CBOE volatility index (.VIX), also known as Wall Street's fear gauge, rose for a second straight session.

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) dropped 3.9% after Russia closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries in response to Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector. read more

First Horizon Corp (FHN.N) surged 29% after TD Bank Group (TD.TO) offered to acquire the U.S. bank in an all-cash deal valued at $13.4 billion. read more

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.10-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 45 new highs and 92 new lows.

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Reporting by Devik Jain, Uday Sampath Kumar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru, and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Aditya Soni and Cynthia Osterman

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