Stocks head for solid week; Ukraine tensions ease
New York • Renewed fighting in Ukraine knocked the stock market lower Friday. Major indexes headed higher at the start of trading, then sank following reports that Ukrainian forces attacked Russian military vehicles that had crossed the border. U.S. government bond prices jumped as investors sought safety, driving the yield on the 10-year note to its lowest level this year.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 96 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,618 as of 12:20 p.m. Mountain time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,948. The Nasdaq composite lost nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,444.
REACTION: John Canally, the chief economic strategist at LPL Financial, said it's understandable that traders dropped stocks in response to the flare-up. "Anyone who doesn't want to lose their job over the weekend sells first and asks questions later," he said.
Canally suspects the dispute between Russia and Ukraine will likely follow the pattern of recent months. Worrying headlines will be followed by soothing speeches. "We've been here before," he said.
UKRAINE: Investors were rattled by news that crossed at mid-morning Eastern time that a column of Russian armored carriers had crossed into Ukraine late Thursday. Ukraine claimed that its artillery fire destroyed a majority of the vehicles.
EUROPE: The reports out of Ukraine sent major European markets down. Germany's DAX dropped 1.4 percent, after being up 1.1 percent earlier. France's CAC 40 lost 0.7 percent.
OIL AND BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged as low as 2.30 percent, the lowest since June 2013, as traders shifted money into U.S. government bonds. In mid-afternoon trading the yield was 2.34 percent, down from 2.40 percent late Thursday. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose $1.44 to $97.02 a barrel.
MONSTER DEAL: Monster Beverage soared 28 percent following news that Coca-Cola plans to pay $2 billion for a stake in the maker of caffeinated drinks. The deal comes as Coca-Cola's flagship soda business is flagging and "energy drinks" have become popular. Monster jumped $20.79 to $92.44.
KNOWN AS NORDY'S: Nordstrom reported a slight drop in earnings as well as sales that fell just short of analysts' estimates. The department-store's stock slid $3.06, or 4 percent, to $65.61.
HACKED: Supervalu, a grocery store chain, said hackers gained access to its computer network for handling credit-card transactions. The company said it isn't sure yet if customers' account numbers and other information were stolen. Supervalu fell 32 cents, or 3 percent, to $9.27.
METALS: The price of gold fell $9.50 to $1,306.20 an ounce. Silver fell four cents to close at $19.53 an ounce and copper edged up a penny to $3.10 a pound.