Closing Update: Mixed Finish as Early Gains Compromised By Ukraine Tensions, Interest-Rate Jitters - Strong February in the Books

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Wall Street limped into the close today leaving the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 only slightly higher, and the Nasdaq lower. Friday's early rally on upbeat economic data began to unravel after rumors surrounding the deteriorating situation in Ukraine undermined bullish sentiment. Remarks from Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser concerning higher interest rates coupled with technical resistance at the S&P 500's record high to drive stock prices sharply lower midday, amplified by a major selloff in the dollar. The major averages did try for a late-session rally. The S&P 500 ends February with a 4.3% monthly gain; the DJIA is up 4%, and the Nasdaq is up 5%.

Investors shrugged off the greater than expected downward revision to Q4 GDP, instead cheering the unexpected gain in the Chicago PMI and upward revision to the Reuters/Univ of MI consumer sentiment index, pushing the S&P 500 to another record high and the Nasdaq Composite to its best level in 13 years.

The indices spent very little time at the highs, however, and the gains quickly unraveled when Philly Fed President Charles Plosser mentioned higher short-term rates and rumors of Russian troops in the pro-Russian territory of Crimea in Ukraine sent equities spiraling lower into the second half of the trading session.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 49 (+0.3%) at 16,321.71

S&P 500 was up 5 (+0.3%) at 1,859.45

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 11 (-0.3%) at 4,308.12

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 0.01%

Nikkei 225 was down 0.55%

Hang Seng Index was up 0.04%

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.44%

UPSIDE MOVERS

HPJ Continues to gain on large order for lithium batteries for Chinese buses

CETV Signed a rights offering with Time Warner

VRNS IPO was well received prompting the company to increase its IPO price $4 to $22

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

APEI Missed Q4 earnings on lower course registrations

NIHD Reported a wider than expected Q4 2013 loss of $4.33 vs loss of $3.45 for Q4 2012

DECK Reported disappointing Q4 guidance, downgraded by Jefferies



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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