ADVERTISEMENT

U.S. stocks fell Friday, a day after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost the most in five weeks, as talks with Russia failed to end a standoff over the Crimea ahead of Sunday’s referendum.

Bank of America Corp. dropped 2.1 percent amid a rate- rigging lawsuit by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Aeropostale Inc. tumbled 20 percent after mounting losses and a $150 million loan raised concern the company is running out of cash. Yahoo! Inc. climbed 1 percent, increasing for the first time in six days.

The S&P 500 lost 0.3 percent to 1,841.13. The equity gauge had its biggest weekly decline since January, after closing at an all-time high on March 7. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,065.67. About 6.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, in line with the three-month average.

“I think we’ve been kind of expecting volatility right now,” said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer of First American Trusta. His firm manages $1.1 billion. “There’s a lot of different stuff going on in the world.”

The U.S. and the European Union are threatening sanctions against Russia if it doesn’t back down from annexing Crimea. Ukraine’s Kiev-based cabinet says Russia has taken over the southern region and is massing troops on its border.

“Everyone is watching this Ukraine situation, not knowing what to make of it,” said John Carey, a fund manager at Pioneer Investment Management Inc., a Boston-based firm that manages about $220 billion worldwide, “Consumer confidence was a little low, although I think people still need to coincide what the weather has done to the data. People are realizing the market is OK if we don’t have a real setback internationally.”

Consumer confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in March to a four-month low, data showed Friday, indicating household spending may be slow to pick up from a weather-related setback earlier this year.

The Federal Open Market Committee, which meets March 18-19, has cut monthly bond buying to $65 billion from $85 billion in December. Policy makers have indicated they plan to taper by $10 billion at each meeting absent a weakening in the economy.

Three rounds of Fed stimulus have helped push the S&P 500 up 172 percent from a 12-year low, as U.S. equities enter the sixth year of a bull market that started March 9, 2009.

Four of 10 main industries in the S&P 500 fell today, as technology and financial shares erased more than 0.5 percent.

Bank of America slipped 2.1 percent to $16.80. The lender, Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG were among more than a dozen banks sued by the FDIC for allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate from 2007 to 2011.

Credit Suisse decreased 2.5 percent to $30.25 in U.S. trading and Citigroup fell 1 percent to $46.88.

Aeropostale tumbled 20 percent to $5.83, the lowest level since 2003. The teen apparel retailer forecast a loss of as much as 75 cents a share for its first quarter, more than the 17-cent loss estimated by analysts. The company also said it has entered a strategic partnership with Sycamore Partners, which will provide the $150 million loan.

Boston Scientific Corp. climbed 2.1 percent to $13.01 after the company’s Ingevity pacemaker wires received European approval as they met certain product standards.