US STOCKS-Wall St tumbles on Malaysian airliner crash news
* Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine war zone, 295 dead
* Israeli PM orders ground offensive in Gaza -official statement
* Morgan Stanley profit more than doubles, beats estimates
* Dow off 0.9 pct; S&P 500 down 1.2 pct; Nasdaq off 1.4 pct (Updates to close)
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell sharply lower on Thursday, with the S&P 500 posting its biggest one-day percentage drop since April 10 on news that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed near the Ukraine-Russia border.
Investors sold stocks in a move to avoid risk and poured some money into safe-haven investments like gold and U.S. government bonds as the crash stoked concerns that the conflict in Ukraine might widen after U.S. sanctions against Russia were announced late Wednesday.
Almost 300 people died in the crash, caused by a missile fired at the plane, according to a Ukrainian official. The incident follows an increase in tensions between Ukraine and Russia that has resulted in clashes along the border, including the targeting of military aircraft.
Further pressuring the market, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said. Reuters witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling and helicopter fire along the Gaza border. Continuación...