U.S. stocks were mixed today, with the S&P 500 still managing a record close and equities posting a monthly gain.
Rumours about possible Russian action in the Ukraine were cited as a potential factor in stocks pulling back late in the session.
The Wall Street Journal, quoting Russia’s Interfax news agency, reported Ukraine’s acting president claimed Russia sent troops to Crimea and seized Parliament. This followed unconfirmed reports from the BBC and AFP that Russian troops may have entered Crimea.
Equities had rallied after a final read on consumer sentiment in February came in just above expectations and existing-home sales held steady in January.
Consumer sentiment rose marginally this month even as concerns about the extreme weather persisted, with the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final read coming in at 81.6, just above the 81.2 in the preliminary estimate and the January reading.
Another report had the economy growing at a slower rate in the last quarter of 2013 than previously estimated.
Revised figures from the Commerce Department had gross domestic product growing at a 2.4 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter, versus the 3.2 percent gain projected in January. The economy grew 4.1 percent in the third quarter.
And, a measure of economic activity in the Chicago region topped expectations, with the February Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index at 59.8 versus a 57.0 estimate.
European markets ended mixed. Asian stocks were also mixed. China’s currency was grabbing headlines as it continued its sharp move downwards versus the U.S. dollar.
News Sources: CNBC and CNN Money
Looks like a rumour of Russian action spooked what was a very nice rally. There are no confirmations as of yet. As it cleared that it was just a rumour at this point the market rebounded. A classic case of fear kicking in without any real news.
Let’s us hope that no further escalations happen between Russia and the Ukraine in the coming days and weeks.
As far as the market is concerned, it was good to see a new high today in the S&P 500 with a record closing price also. The further away it gets from the old high the better chance it has of keeping momentum. Many traders probably expected a double top, so I hope it keeps going next week before any inevitable weakness come in.