The wild swings that have characterized the U.S. stock market this week come as investors question whether recent events—namely oil's slide to multiyear lows and signs of economic unraveling in Russia—might come into play as the Federal Reserve considers when it will move to normalize U.S. interest rates.
"It's just nuts. Volatility is just about the only way you can put it. There is so much craziness out there, oil prices keep tanking and now you have the whole ruble situation going on," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives with the Schwab Center for Financial Research. He spoke as Russia's central bank tried to stabilize the country's markets in the face of sanctions over Ukraine and falling oil prices.
"Interestingly, it's a geopolitical positive for the U.S. I doubt (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would have gone on the great Ukraine adventure if he thought oil would drop to $60 a barrel," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds.