Stocks End Bumpy Week in the Red
Stocks started the trading session in the US on the defensive on the heels of Thursday’s slide which saw stocks tumble more than 1.4% as tension in Ukraine increased. News reports that Russian troops had massed at the boarder led to a tumultuous session as investors piled out of market leaders and header for safe havens. The S&P 500 index waffled back and forth between positive and negative territory during most of the trading session, but pressure at the end of the day, put the large cap index in the red.
Asian stocks continued to fall on Friday. The Nikkei slumped 3.3% and led Asian and European stocks lower, making the decline for the week for the Japanese market more than 6%. A sharp rise in the yen overnight, partly as a safe haven, reflected the macro tensions ingrained in the sentiment.
In economic news in the US, the Labor Department reported that the producer price index dropped 0.1 percent in February. This compared to a rise 0.2% expected by economists. Excluding the volatile categories of food, energy and retailer and wholesaler profit margins, core prices ticked up 0.1 percent.
On the labor front, a bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a proposal to renew long-term jobless benefits for five months. The payments would be paid retroactively from December, when the previous extension expired. The senators expect their chamber to pass the measure.
More than three hundred and three people were killed when air bags failed to open because of faulty ignition switches in GM cars, the Center for Auto Safety watchdog says. The number is far greater than the 13 people whose deaths the company has acknowledged were linked to the switches. GM has recalled 1.6 million vehicles because of the defect. The Justice department opened a criminal investigation into GM (NYSE:GM) , which could be bad news for the stock.
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