The stock markets in the United States declined primarily due to the concerns that the conflict in Ukraine is escalating. Investors are reacting to the recent actions of Russia in retaliation to the new economic sanctions against it by the European Union and United States.

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Yesterday, Russian government announced its decision to ban all imported food products from the United States and all fruits and vegetables from Europe. Prior to that, Russia signed a $20 billion trade agreement with Iran wherein both countries agreed to “cooperate in the oil-gas industry, construction of power plants, grids, supply of machinery, consumer goods and agriculture products.”

The concerns about the conflict in Ukraine overshadowed the positive economic data today. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits last week declined, a sign that the labor market continues to improve.

Last week, the agency reported that the U.S. economy added more than 200,000 jobs for the sixth consecutive month in July. The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 4% in the second-quarter.

John Manley, the chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Fund Management, told Bloomberg, “The uncertainty over the situation in Ukraine has overshadowed the positive economic data we saw earlier today. The market has adapted to the positive data, but when it comes to geopolitical tensions, it’s hard to adapt. Tensions rise and we’re reaching the last level before the situation spins out of control.”

U.S. Markets

• Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,367.27 (-0.46%)
• S&P 500- 1,909.51 (-0.56%)
• NASDAQ- 4,334.97 (-0.46%)
• Russell 2000- 1,119.10 (-0.57%)

European Markets

• EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,012.88 (-1.23%)
• FTSE 100 Index- 6,597.37 (-0.58%)
• Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,038.97 (-1.00%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

• Nikkei 225- 15,232.37 (+0.48%)
• Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,387.56 (-0.80%)
• Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,327.46 (-1.51%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) declined almost 2% to $36.39 per share due to the announcement of Russia to ban the import of U.S. food products. Russia is the second-largest market for U.S. chickens. Despite than ban, the National Chicken Council and USDA Poultry & Egg Export Council do not expect that it would have a great impact on the industry. According to the group, “Free and fair trade –- particularly with food -– should never be used as a political bargaining chip.”

The shares of Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) gained 1% to $23.97 per share as the company benefits from the increasing demand for anti-hacking solutions. Symantec posted first-quarter earnings that beat the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. The company delivered $0.45 EPS on $1.735 billion in revenue.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) gained more than 1% to $252.39 per share driven by a report that it settled the trademark dispute in China. The company also announced the appointment of Robyn Denholm, the executive vice president and CFO of Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR) to its board of directors.