U.S. stocks fell in midday trading today, trimming a weekly gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after escalating tensions in Ukraine boosted demand for haven assets.
Nordstrom Inc. sank 4 percent after reporting sales that missed analysts’ estimates. Monster Beverage Corp. soared 29 percent after Coca-Cola Co. agreed to buy a stake in the company. Applied Materials Inc. jumped 5 percent after forecasting sales that may top analysts’ estimates.
The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 1,950.51 at 11:23 a.m. in New York, erasing an earlier advance of 0.5 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 66.34 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,647.24. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 16 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank eight basis points to 2.32 percent, the lowest since June 2013.
“You saw the market drift up because it appeared that things had quieted down a little bit, but this Ukraine headline changes that,” Walter Todd, who oversees more than $1 billion as chief investment officer for Greenwood, South Carolina-based Greenwood Capital Associates LLC, said in a phone interview. “The move highlights the sensitive and reactionary nature of markets right now.”
Ukrainian troops attacked and destroyed “part” of military column that entered country from Russia through rebel- held border post of Izvaryne, Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s military, told reporters in Kiev.
The government earlier said Russia is still supplying rebels in the eastern part of the country with equipment, while NATO said it sees a continuous flow of Russian weapons into the region.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a website statement that it’s getting information of direct threats to a convoy of trucks sent by the Kremlin to provide humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine.
The escalating crisis in Ukraine overshadowed mixed U.S. economic data that investors are scrutinizing for clues on Federal Reserve stimulus moves. Industrial production advanced 0.4 percent in July, while the New York Fed Empire Manufacturing gauge fell more than estimated and consumer confidence unexpectedly declined from its lowest level since March.
Separately, wholesale prices in the U.S. rose at a slower pace in July as fuel costs dropped by the most in eight months. Limited price pressures give the Fed room to maintain an accommodative position as its scales back their monthly bond purchases.
Recent economic strength had created concern that the Fed may be forced to act on rates sooner than anticipated. The U.S. central bank remains on pace to wind down its monthly bond purchases in October. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said officials will keep the benchmark rate low for a “considerable time” after the bond buying ends.
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