By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open sharply lower on Monday, alongside other risk assets, as Ukraine and Russia prepared for war after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor.
Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically after Putin said he had the right to invade Ukraine, in Moscow's biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War.
The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Friday, and profit taking was expected on Wall Street due to the political uncertainty.
"There's been a very significant rally," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"If you need an excuse to sell, this is a good one."
Russian stocks and bonds fell sharply and the central bank hiked interest rates to defend the ruble. The dollar-denominated RTS stock index tumbled 13 percent. The Market Vectors Russia ETF slid 8.3 percent in heavy volume.
Energy stocks could stand to lose if relations between the United States and Russia deteriorate further. Volatility will likely spike alongside the uncertainty of the situation.
"Anything that involves a boycott of Russian supplies, which are very significant, could impact the energy sector dramatically," said Meckler.
"In situations like this you see very quick reactions reverse as people understand the scenario and how things play out."
S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 17 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 130 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 34 points.
Gold prices hit a four month high as investors sought safe-haven assets, boosting gold stocks. U.S.-traded AngloGold Ashanti shares gained 5.5 percent in premarket trading.
Though the focus will likely remain on Ukraine, the economic calendar is full on Monday.
U.S. consumer spending rose more than expected in January, likely as chilly weather boosted demand for heating.
Separate data showed U.S. factory activity growth hits highest since May 2010
Construction spending in January and the manufacturing ISM for February are expected at 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT).
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