US close: S&P 500 hits new record as tensions ease between Ukraine, Russia


LONDON (ShareCast) - - Putin sees no need to send troops to Ukraine
- S&P 500 hits 49th record in 12 months
- Industrials, financials recover

Dow Jones: 1.41%
Nasdaq: 1.75%
S&P 500: 1.53%

US markets soared on Tuesday, rebounding strongly after a sell-off the day before as the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and Russia eased slightly, helping the S&P 500 to hit another record high.

The benchmark S&P 500 finished 1.5% higher at an all-time high of 1,873.91, surpassing its previous high of 1,859.45 reached on Friday; this was the index's 49th record in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.4% and the Nasdaq rose 1.75%.

Sentiment recovered today after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he saw no need yet to send troops into Ukraine, with heavyweight blue chips in the industrial and financial sectors helping markets to rebound after being hit by a reduction in risk appetite on Monday.

"Equities have continued on their tear [...] as markets re-price risk in light of the worst-case scenario for Ukraine being avoided," said Trader David White from Spreadex.

Speaking for the first time since the ousting of former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych last month, Putin said that the situation in the Crimea had "dissipated" and he would only send soldiers to Ukraine in an extreme case.

He told reporters today that Yanukovych had asked Russia to send forces into Ukraine to protect Russian citizens within the country.

Nevertheless, tensions still remain high given the Western condemnation of actions by Moscow.

Speaking in Kiev on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: "The Russian government would have you believe that Russian actions are legitimate. The larger point is that diplomacy, not force, can solve disputes like this in the 21st century."

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama said that Putin's rationale for Russia's increased presence in Crimea was not "fooling anybody".

No major economic data was released in the States during the session, though things are likely to pick on macro-wise in the coming days as investors await ISM services data, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book and the all-important non-farm payrolls report.

Blue chips recover, Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) jumps

Industrial stocks such as Boeing (NYSE: BA - news) and General Electric (Swiss: GE.SW - news) bounced after a weak performance the previous session, along with financial giant Citigroup (NYSE: C - news) , Bank of America (TLO: BAC.TI - news) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) .

Facebook rallied on reports the social-network site owner may buy Titan Aerospace for $60m, makers of solar-powered, high-altitude drones that can stay aloft for up to five years at a time.

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF - news) gained after Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS - news) raised its recommendation on the company to 'outperform' from 'neutral', saying a more competitive pricing strategy and tighter cost controls will help bolster earnings.

Lorillard (NYSE: LO - news) was higher on speculation Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI - news) will make a bid to buy the third-largest seller of cigarettes in the US.

SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE - news) rose after Morgan Stanley (Berlin: DWD.BE - news) raised the solar-energy technology developer to 'overweight', meaning investors should buy the shares.

Molycorp (NYSE: MCP - news) dropped as the owner of the largest rare-earth deposits outside of China reported fourth quarter revenue that fell short of analysts' estimates.

Electronics retailer Radioshack (NYSE: RSH - news) plummeted after missing analysts' estimates with its quarterly results and saying that it will close a fifth of its stores.


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