Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday, as concerns over ongoing tensions in Ukraine continued to weigh on market sentiment, while investors awaited the release of U.S. service sector data later in the day.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 dropped 0.75%, the S&P 500 declined 0.69%, while the NASDAQ Composite lost 0.73%.
Markets were jittery after clashes broke out in at six cities in eastern Ukraine over the weekend while pro-Russian forces overran a police station in Odessa, freeing close to 70 activists held there.
The events came after the death of 46 people on Friday, marking the bloodiest day since the ousting of Viktor Yanukovich from the Ukrainian presidency in February.
Elsewhere, data showed that China’s HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 48.1, down from a preliminary estimate of 48.3 and missing forecasts for an uptick to 48.4.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) saw shares plunge 2.47% after the pharmaceutical company posted earnings that missed analysts'' estimates.
Target (NYSE:TGT) added to losses, down 1.71%, following reports Chief Executive and Chairman Gregg Steinhafel are preparing to leave the discount retailer in the aftermath of the company''s massive data breach late last year.
In the financial sector, Citigroup (NYSE:C) tumbled 1.70% even as the U.S. lender won a contract to deliver custody and securities-lending services to Norway’s $866 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, displacing previous provider JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).
Shares in JPMorgan were down 2.61% following the news.
Separately, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) was down 1.31% after Warren Buffett, who invested $5 billion in the bank, said he is confident the lender will overcome an accounting mistake that forced the firm to suspend an increased payout to shareholders.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Sysco Corporation (NYSE:SYY) and American International Group (NYSE:AIG), scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were sharply lower. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 tumbled 1.21%, France’s CAC 40 retreated 1.06%, Germany''s DAX plummeted 1.43%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 remained closed for a national holiday.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng lost 1.28%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 remained closed for a national holiday.
Later in the day, the Institute of Supply Management was to publish a report on U.S. service sector activity.