US shares down amid tensions in Ukraine and the ongoing Gaza conflict

<p>US shares were down today as investors focused on developments in Ukraine and Gaza.</p>

US shares fell today (June 21st) as investors focus on recent developments in Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

At least five people have been killed and 70 injured by an Israeli strike on a hospital in Gaza, according to Palestinian reports. 

The Palestinian death toll from the two-week conflict has now passed 500, the majority of them civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Overnight, more than 30 members of two Palestinian families died in Israeli strikes. Doctors say several Israeli tank shells hit the hospital's reception, intensive care unit and operating theatres.

Meanwhile, Hamas launched fresh rocket attacks. Israel said ten militants had been killed after using tunnels to get into Israel near the town of Sderot, the BBC reports.

In Ukraine, fighting flared in the city of Donetsk as investigators began to inspect the bodies of victims of a Malaysia Airlines jet with 298 people aboard that was shot down last week. 

The United States and its allies blame pro-Russian rebels and Moscow over the downing of the plane. Russia has denied involvement and blames the Ukrainian military.

The United States and the EU could now impose further economic sanctions against Russian interests.

"The geopolitical situation is an overarching damper on the market and underneath that this week we’re right in the heart of second quarter earnings," Matthew Kaufler, manager of Federated Investor Inc.’s Clover Value Fund, told Bloomberg. 

"While the market is net focused on earnings, we’re still trying to keep a pulse on what’s going on around the world."

The S&P 500 (SPX) lost 0.6 per cent to 1,965.88 at 11:01 ET in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 119.44 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 16,980.74.

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