Futures tracking the Nasdaq 100 fell 2.4% in early New York trading, putting the index on course to shed 20% from its November record closing high, or bear market territory, the first such instance since the selling in March 2020 at the peak of the pandemic.
Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders into the eastern Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, and landing by sea at the cities of Odessa and Mariupol in the south.
also indicated the blue-chip index was set to confirm a correction from its all-time closing high on Jan. 4, after market opens.
A correction is confirmed when an index closes 10% or more below its record closing level.
At 3:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 671 points, or 2.03%, were down 83.25 points, or 1.97%, and were down 327.75 points, or 2.43%.
Fears of war in eastern Europe have hammered stocks in recent days putting the main indexes on track for their worst week in a month, down between 2.8% and 3.8% as of Wednesday's close.
"At this point, it's impossible to bet on any scenario. We can only monitor closely the latest developments and stand ready for more volatility," Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said.
The , also known as Wall Street's fear gauge, was last trading at 36.41, its highest since Jan. 24.