The S&P 500 ended below a key technical support level of 1,850 for
the second day. The index also ended down 2 percent for the week,
its biggest weekly loss since late January.
Moscow shipped more troops and armor into Crimea on Friday and
repeated its threat to invade other parts of Ukraine in response to
violence in Donetsk on Thursday night despite Western demands to
Global equity markets were pressured, while gold and the yen
strengthened as traders flocked into the safe-haven assets. The CBOE
Volatility index VIX <.VIX>, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge,
rose 9.9 percent to 17.82.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia were "the primary drag on
equities and risk assets this week," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice
president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
"The referendum this weekend, and what the response from the rest of
the world and Russia will be to that," create a lot of uncertainty,
A key emerging market exchange-traded fund, the iShares MSCI
Emerging Markets ETF <EEM.P>, gained 0.5 percent to $38.40 after
falling nearly 2 percent in the previous session.
Following the recent selloff in emerging markets, some market
participants believe now is the time to get into emerging market
equities, but analysts are wary.
"The numbers, certainly on the face of it, look compelling," said
Jade Fu, investment manager at Heartwood Investment Management in
London. The MSCI emerging markets index is trading at 1.5 times
price-to-book value and poor sentiment has already resulted in
outflows of over $30 billion from emerging market equities this
year, Fu said.
But "it is difficult to hold a very optimistic view of emerging
market assets at this time, even if lower valuations have made them
appear more attractive."
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 43.22 points or 0.27
percent, to 16,065.67, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 5.21 points or 0.28
percent, to 1,841.13 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 15.023
points or 0.35 percent, to 4,245.396.
[to top of second column]
For the week, the Dow fell 2.35 percent, the S&P dropped 1.97
percent and the Nasdaq lost 2.1 percent.
In economic news, producer prices fell 0.1 percent in February,
dragged down by falling costs for services, offering little sign of
inflation pressures. U.S. consumer sentiment weakened in early March
as an unusually harsh winter appeared to dim views on the economy's
General Mills Inc <GIS.N> fell 2.4 percent to $49.77. It forecast
third-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations as it faces
increased competition from store brands and spends more on marketing
Aeropostale Inc <ARO.N> tumbled 20.1 percent to $5.83. The teen
apparel retailer reported its fifth straight quarterly loss.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co <CTB.N> jumped 6.7 percent to $24.36 after
reporting fourth-quarter earnings ahead of Wall Street estimates.
About 6.7 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, according to BATS
Global Markets, below the 6.9 billion daily average so far this
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by
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