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Worries about a Russian invasion of Ukraine have hit the markets

European markets dropped sharply on Monday as concerns about military tension between Russia and Ukraine and interest rate rises prompted sell-offs.

In London, the FTSE 100 fell more than 2.6%, while exchanges in Germany and France slid nearly 4%.

But shares in the US staged a rebound and closed in positive territory despite falling more than 2% earlier.

The swings came ahead of a meeting of the US central bank and amid warnings of a potential invasion in Ukraine.

Nato on Monday said it was putting forces on standby, after Russia deployed some 100,000 troops and heavy armour at the Ukrainian border. On Sunday, the situation prompted the US, the UK and Australia to order diplomats’ families to leave Kyiv.

“Ukraine clearly is a concern that’s weighing on the markets today,” said Darren Schuringa, chief executive officer of investment adviser ASYMmetric ETFs.

“This will continue to weigh on the markets for the foreseeable future until there’s some type of resolution and more clarity as to what the outcome looks like.”

Concerns about inflation, Covid and other issues have led to three weeks of consecutive declines on US markets.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has fallen more than 10% from its previous high – a drop considered a market “correction” – and the broad-based S&P 500 is flirting with a similar decline.

Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin, which hit a high of $69,000 in November, has almost halved since, dropping below $35,000 on Monday, before recovering ground to more than $36,000.

Monday saw moments of torrid selling piling onto January’s losses, with the Dow down more than 1,000 points – nearly 3% – at one point.

But the index, which includes many of America’s biggest companies, closed nearly 0.3% higher.

The Nasdaq reversed a more than 3% drop to end 0.6% higher, while the S&P 500 finished 0.3% up.

The swings come as investors wait for action by the US central bank, which has said it expects to respond to soaring US inflation by raising interest rates this year.

Such moves typically depress stock prices by making other kinds of investments more attractive.

Investors have also been also selling shares as they try to position themselves ahead of a wave of reports from companies about their end-of-year performance.

Last week, Netflix, one of the biggest names to share results so far, disappointed analysts with its forecast for the upcoming months, prompting shares to plunge more than 20%.

The declines were seen as a possible warning about other firms.

Walt Disney, which has been focusing on its streaming strategy to compete with Netflix, was among the biggest initial losers on the Dow on Monday, down more than 4% at one point, while Tesla, which reports this week, fell more than 6%.

Shares in both firms later recovered, with Disney ending flat and Tesla down about 1.5%.

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