US STOCKS-Wall St sells off as Ukraine-Russia tension rises

lunes 3 de marzo de 2014 18:48 GYT

* Russian stock market, bonds and currency plunge

* Gold and oil climb as Ukraine tensions spur safety bids

* CBOE Volatility Index, the VIX, jumps more than 14 pct

* Dow down 0.9 pct; S&P 500 off 0.7 pct; Nasdaq off 0.7 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday alongside other risky assets globally as tensions in Ukraine and Russia escalated after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor.

News that Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically overshadowed better-than-expected U.S. data, including an index showing that factory activity rebounded from an eight-month low in February.

The S&P 500 had closed at a record high on Friday, and profit-taking was expected on Wall Street due to the political uncertainty. The index found some support when it fell to 1,840, but broke below it after the first attempt. The S&P 500 extended losses in early afternoon trading and then recovered slightly to close above the support level.

"It's too early to tell whether this would be a buying opportunity because we need to see how this (tension between Ukraine and Russia) plays out. It depends on how far this escalates, but I would suggest hedging before making any bets at this point," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.   Continuación...