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Stocks swing and oil prices soar after Russia attacks Ukraine

Economic effects of Russia-Ukraine conflict
Economic expert on how Russia-Ukraine conflict could affect the stock market 08:09

U.S. markets recovered Thursday after President Joe Biden unveiled new sanctions against Russia in reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin's military action in Ukraine. Earlier in the day, stocks had dived on concerns that the incursion could roil the global economy.

The Dow closed higher, rising 91 points to 33,223. That swing came after the index had plunged more than 800 points in early trading. Other major U.S. stock indices also recovered their footing, with the S&P 500 rising 1.5% by the close of trading and the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumping 3.3%.

"Russia invading Ukraine has added to an already tense year, with investors selling first and asking questions later," said LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick in an email. "But it is important to know that past major geopolitical events were usually short-term market issues, especially if the economy was on solid footing."

Bitcoin prices

Meanwhile, the prices of major cryptocurrencies continued their slump this week as the Russia-Ukraine crisis boiled over and crypto buyers and other investors sought safer havens like the U.S. dollar and gold.

Like stocks, Bitcoin slumped in early trading on Thursday but recovered later in the day. The price for the cryptocurrency rose 3.2% on Thursday.

The Ukraine attack began moments after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had "decided to conduct a special military operation" to protect eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. CBS News correspondents reported hearing loud blasts in the capital city, Kyiv, and in the eastern city of Kharkiv. 

A Ukrainian government spokesperson said early Thursday that "cruise and ballistic missile strikes are underway at the control centers" in Kyiv. 

Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer on consequences and costs of Russia's invasion of Ukraine 06:21

U.S. gas prices could rise

Oil prices jumped 7.5%, topping more than $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, on concerns that the crisis in Eastern Europe could disrupt Russian supplies of crude. Russia accounts for about 12% of the world's oil supply and provides about 40% of gas to the European Union. Most of that fuel is delivered through pipelines, including in Ukraine, according to Eurasia Group.

President Biden on Thursday declared Russia's continuing assault on Ukraine a "premeditated attack" and announced additional economic sanctions the U.S. and Western allies will impose on Russia.

"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences," Mr. Biden said during remarks at the White House, hours after the Russian assault on Ukraine began. 

The president said the U.S. will impose sanctions on four of Russia's largest banks, in addition to two financial institutions the U.S. sanctioned earlier this week, meaning "every asset they have in America will be frozen," he said. The U.S. and Western allies are also imposing new export controls, which Mr. Biden said will block more than half of Russia's high-tech imports and strike a blow to Moscow's military and technological capabilities. 

"The attack and sanctions response will have far-reaching impacts on the global economy," analysts with political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group said in a report. "Oil and gas prices will rise significantly, reinforcing inflationary pressures and weighing on financial markets and global growth."

Although the U.S. is not dependent on Russian energy, rising global oil costs since late 2021 have driven up prices at the pump for Americans. The national average for a gallon of gas is now $3.53 — 21 cents more than in January and 90 cents more than a year ago, according to AAA. The highest-ever price for a gallon of regular gas in the U.S. was $4.11 in July of 2008.

Russian attack on Ukraine sparks fears of global economic downturn, higher oil and gas prices 02:51

"Russia is one of the leading oil producers globally, behind only the United States and Saudi Arabia," AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in a report. "And if they choose to withhold their oil from the global market, such a move would eventually be reflected in higher gas prices for American drivers."

The S&P 500 fell 1.8% to an eight-month low on Wednesday and remains in "correction" territory, a loss of at least 10% from its recent peak, while the Dow and Nasdaq also finished lower. U.S. stocks have slumped this year on expectations by investors that the Federal Reserve is set to start hiking interest rates as early as next month in a bid to curb inflation. 

— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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