Global stocks plunged after President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine, drawing condemnation from the West and making punishing sanctions all but certain.
European stocks tumbled on Thursday. The FTSE 100 fell 3.9% in London, while France’s CAC 40 dropped 3.8% and Germany’s DAX 30 shed 4%. Russian stocks crashed, with the country’s main index dropping 45% before recovering some losses and closing 33% lower.
US stocks fell sharply. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.2%, opening the day in bear-market territory. The Dow sank 1.9%, or 675 points. The S&P 500 fell 1.2%.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI) Index dropped 3.2%, its biggest daily loss in five months. Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225) lost 1.8% and China’s Shanghai Composite moved 1.7% lower.
The pain spread beyond stocks. The Russian ruble briefly crashed about 10% to a record low of 90 against the US dollar.
Brent crude, the world benchmark, topped $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 on its way to $103 per barrel. US crude jumped 5.2% to $97.33 a barrel.
A broad offensive by Russian forces targeted military infrastructure across Ukraine as well as several airports. The assault began hours before dawn and quickly spread across central and eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attacked from three sides. Putin warned of bloodshed unless Ukrainian forces lay down their arms.
“The world is shocked as Russia launches a major military offensive against Ukraine,” analysts for ING wrote Thursday in a research note. “Financial markets are predictably witnessing a flight to safety and may have to price in slower growth on the further spike in energy prices,” they added.
Investors will watch for the West’s response to Russia’s aggression, which is likely to include punishing sanctions.
“The question will then be which Russian financial institutions are targeted for severe financial sanctions,” the ING analysts said.
— Matt Egan contributed reporting.