S&P 500 Reaches Record High on Friday Despite Tumble by Russian Economy

People walk under under a board listing foreign currency rates against the Russian ruble just outside an exchange office in central Moscow on March 3. (Photo: Dmitry Serebry, AFP/Getty Images)
People walk under under a board listing foreign currency rates against the Russian ruble just outside an exchange office in central Moscow on March 3. (Photo: Dmitry Serebry, AFP/Getty Images)

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped to a new intraday record high Friday even as Russian stocks tumbled after Washington announced additional sanctions on key members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.3% to 1,878 after rising as high as 1,883.97 and setting a new intraday trading high. The benchmark index closed at a record high of 1,878.04 on March 7.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.4% to 16,387 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.4% to 4,300.

enchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was up 54 cents at $99.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 27 cents to settle Thursday at $98.90.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.77%.

Russia’s Micex index fell 2.1% after dropping as much as 3% in Moscow as Russia formally annexed Crimea and Putin signed into law the incorporation, calling it a “remarkable event.” The Russian stock market has lost more 10% this month, wiping out billions in market capitalization.

“Today is but the opening act: we expect to soon sign the Agreement’s remaining parts, not least the economic provisions,” European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Friday in a statement, referring to the EU’s freshly inked Association Agreement with Ukraine.

“It recognizes the aspirations of the people of Ukraine to live in a country governed by values, by democracy and the rule of law, where all citizens have a stake in national prosperity, ” he said.

Obama signed an executive order Thursday that gives the United States authority to impose sanctions on individuals as well as “key sectors of the Russian economy.” The new order gives the Treasury Department the ability to target individuals and institutions in Russia’s financial services, energy, metals and mining, defense and engineering sectors.

Two Russian banks including Bank Rossiya, the Russian lender which was put on the Treasury’s sanctions list, said Visa and MasterCard stopped providing services to them. U.S. officials described Russia’s 15th largest bank with $12 billion in assets as a “personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation.”

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SOURCE: Kim Hjelmgaard
USA TODAY

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