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The Dow fell nearly 1 percent on Monday in its worst day for a month, as worries about Russian intervention in Ukraine had investors fleeing assets perceived as risky.

Gold and oil prices spiked and U.S. Treasury yields fell on heightened tensions involving Russia's threat to use military force in Ukraine, which mobilized its army and requested foreign observers. Secretary of State John Kerry was on his way to Kiev Monday after saying Russia risked possible sanctions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 153 points lower, after shedding as much as 250 points during the day. The S&P 500 finished 13 points lower and the Nasdaq was 30 points down.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose $28.70, or 2.2 percent, to $1,350.30 an ounce. Crude-oil futures for April delivery added $2.33, or 2.3 percent, to $104.92 a barrel.

The Ukraine crisis spooked markets around the world and most shares in Europe and Asia were lower.

A stock on the trade floor of the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. The German stock market and other exchanges in Europe were strained by the fear of an escalation of the conflict in Crimea.FRANK RUMPENHORST / EPA

Russia's ruble, already down nearly 10 percent this year, fell below 50 to the euro for the first time. It was trading below 36.4 to the dollar, a record.

After pegging a slew of recent disappointing economic data as weather-related, investors bypassed better-than-forecast economic reports on Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management reported on manufacturing activity in February, with the reading at a better-than-expected 53.2.