Wall Street continues losing streak as US imposes Russia oil ban

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks lost more ground on Tuesday (March 8) after President Joe Biden imposed a ban on imports of Russian petroleum, and more major firms announced they were shutting operations in Russia.

Britain also announced it was phasing out energy purchases from Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, while oil giants Shell and BP, both based in Britain, said they would stop buying Russian oil and natural gas immediately.

The latest steps sent oil prices up another 4.6 per cent, with Brent futures rising to US$128.77 a barrel.

United States gasoline prices at the pump hit a record not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis, and other commodities also continue to rise, fanning inflation in major economies.

Amid increasing pressure to isolate Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Starbucks joined the growing number of major firms closing up shop in Russia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6 per cent to finish the session at 32,632.64, the lowest in nearly a year.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.7 per cent to end at 4,170.7, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3 per cent to 12,795.55.

It was a choppy day of trading, and Mr Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services noted that shares jumped after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is no longer pressing for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

But "the market is so nervous that at the slightest positive or negative headline, it reacts to avoid being too exposed", he told AFP. "Everyone tries to limit the risks."

McDonald's and Starbucks fell, but Coca-Cola gained 2.8 per cent.

Oil companies continue to see share prices rise amid the prospects for higher prices, including solid gains for Chevron, Shell and BP, and a more modest increase for Exxon Mobil.

Remote video URL

Follow ST on LinkedIn and stay updated on the latest career news, insights and more.