Market Wrap: US and NATO Say Russia Still Building Troops on Ukraine’s Border

The US and NATO say Russia has not partially removed troops from Ukraine’s border yet, causing more fear among investors


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key takeaways

  • Equity markets seesawed Wednesday after the US and NATO claimed Russia is not withdrawing troops from Ukraine’s border
  • The markets fought back later in the day after the Fed minutes report showed a slow methodical approach to raising interest rates

US and NATO claim Russia is not actually removing troops from Ukraine’s border

The US and NATO claimed Wednesday that Russia had not removed any troops from Ukraine’s border, as they said they would begin doing on Tuesday. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted the lack of deescalation from Russia in a press conference Wednesday.

“Allies welcome all diplomatic efforts. There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy could continue, but so far, we do not see any sign of deescalation on the ground. No withdrawals of troops or equipment. This may of course change. However, what we see today is that Russia maintains a massive invasion force ready to attack with high-end capabilities from Crimea to Belarus,” said Stoltenberg.

“This is the biggest concentration of forces in Europe since the Cold War,” he added.

Fed minutes report boosts markets in late session

The news of Russia’s lack of deescalation at the Ukrainian border pulled markets down for most of the trading day, but the release of the Fed minutes report from the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting that took place from Jan. 25-26 this year helped to boost markets later in the day.

The report showed that the Fed would continue to take a methodical and slow approach to raising interest rates as opposed to aggressively raising them to combat inflation more quickly.

The federal funds rate will remain at its current level until the FOMC meeting from March 15–16, 2022. Many market participants feared the Fed would move to quickly raise interest rates, which could lead to a decline in the market.

After being down most of the day on the news of Russia’s continued threatening presence on the Ukrainian border, the S&P 500 ended the day up by 0.09%. The Nasdaq followed a similar route, dropping as much as 1.49% during the day but recovering to close down just 0.12%. Bitcoin and ether fell by 1.05% and 1.60% respectively.

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Going forward

Markets are likely to react sharply to any news around the Ukraine-Russia tensions. The concern over Fed rate hikes has been eased until at least mid-March when the next FOMC meeting is scheduled. Investors should expect more volatility in the event of further escalation at the Ukrainian border.

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