Market Wrap: Equities Seesaw as Ukraine Unpredictability Continues

Investors are watching the developing conflict in Ukraine and await Biden’s executive crypto order and new interest rates


An armored personnel carrier in Ukraine | Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Markets behaved erratically Tuesday as conflicting reports emerged from Ukraine
  • Biden said Tuesday the US would ban Russian energy imports, and Congress is likely to pass a $14 billion aid package for Ukraine

Markets behaved erratically Tuesday as investors were unsure how to handle news emerging from Ukraine. News starting this week seemed positive as talks between Russia and Ukraine were mediated by Israel's prime minister.

President Biden announced Tuesday that Russian energy imports, including oil, would "no longer be accepted by US ports and the American people."

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, thanked Biden and encouraged other leaders to do the same.

"Thankful for US and @POTUS personal leadership in striking in the heart of Putin’s war machine and banning oil, gas and coal from US market," Zelensky said. "Encourage other countries and leaders to follow."

Equity markets ricocheted on the day, with the S&P 500 ending down 0.72% and the Nasdaq and Dow declining 0.39% and 0.56%, respectively.

Congress was also quick to fold a $14 billion Ukraine aid package into a funding bill that must be passed by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. Some lawmakers are unhappy with the aid's entanglement with the funding bill, while others are hopeful that the time crunch will speed up the release of aid to Ukraine.

Russia was accused Tuesday of breaking the ceasefire and even shelling evacuation routes out of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko.

"Ceasefire violated! Russian forces are now shelling the humanitarian corridor from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol," Nikolenko tweeted. "8 trucks + 30 buses ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Mariupol and to evac civilians to Zaporizhzhia. Pressure on Russia MUST step up to make it uphold its commitments."

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seemed to avoid the negative pressure and pushed into the positive Tuesday. Bitcoin saw a 1.06% gain on the day while ether jumped by 2.40% on the day. Today's biggest gainer among the top 100 coins by market capitalization was the privacy token Zcash with an almost 17.6% gain.

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Top stories

Story: Bain Capital Ventures Launches $560M Crypto-focused Fund as Ecosystem Booms

  • Bain Capital has about $155 billion in assets under management
  • “The fund was oversubscribed by a little bit, but in the classic spirit of Bain Capital, we started with a modest fund size and plan to expand significantly from there,” Alex Evans, a partner at Bain Capital told Blockworks

Story: Congressional Action on Stablecoins Could Come as Soon as This Month, Source Says

  • Efforts are underway in the House and the Senate to regulate stablecoin issuers and oversee reserves
  • The escalating conflict in Ukraine has led lawmakers to question how a CBDC might work in the US

Story: Bitcoin Mining Operators Jostling for Market Share in 2022

  • Marathon Digital expects to have 199,000 bitcoin miners producing approximately 23.3 EH/s by early 2023
  • Stronghold Digital Mining, which owns its power, seeks to buy additional plants and scale its mining equipment and operations this year

Story: Avalanche Foundation’s ‘Multiverse’ Incentive Program To Invest Up to $290M

  • Avalanche Multiverse’s program and investments will be divided into at least six phases to support new cohorts and projects
  • Up to four million AVAX tokens will fund the program

Going forward

Crypto markets seem to be awaiting Biden's looming executive order before making any moves up or down. Investors are also waiting on the mid-March Fed meeting that will determine interest rates going forward.

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