Bank Stocks Roar as Ukraine Simmers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks of major U.S. banks on Tuesday made up their losses from the previous session and then some, as the situation in Ukraine appeared to ease, at least temporarily.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a 1.4% gain, while the S&P 500 rose 1.5% and the NASDAQ Composite added 1.8%, following European markets higher, as tensions in the Ukraine appeared to ease. A widely reported deadline for Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender to Russian troops passed without any action taken, and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops near the Ukrainian border on military exercise to return to their bases by Friday.

Putin said Russia would use military action in Ukraine beyond Crimea only as a "last resort," although he played his usual word game in saying ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych remained the lawful leader of Ukraine, and that Russia had been responding to Yanukovych's request for assistance.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry while visiting Kyiv on Tuesday said during a press briefing that the Russian government was "out of excuses, hiding its hand behind falsehoods, intimidation, and provocations." He added that it was "clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further."

Kerry also said, "I've spoken as directly to President Putin today as I can to invite him to engage in a legitimate and appropriate dialogue, particularly with the current Government of Ukraine, knowing that there's an election in 90 days and the people of Ukraine will have an opportunity to ratify their future leadership."

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