U.S. stocks edge lower on Ukraine concerns; Dow slips 0.17%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks edged lower on Friday after the West slapped fresh sanctions on Russia and brewed fears a diplomatic solution to the standoff may be farther off on the horizon.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.17%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.30%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.98%.

The European Union and the U.S. intensified sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies to pressure his government to defuse the global standoff over Ukraine.

Western nations added new names to their lists of Russians and Ukrainians punished with asset freezes and travel bans.

Russia followed suit with similar sanctions, and while viewed by markets as a tit-for-tat measure, stock prices fell on concerns diplomatic efforts to diffuse the crisis may be unraveling.

Russia earlier Friday completed its annexation of Crimea, which voted last week to join its eastern neighbor and break ties with Ukraine.

Elsewhere, expectations for the Federal Reserve to continue tapering monthly bond purchases, currently at $55 billion a month, edged stocks lower as well.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said earlier this week that interest rates will rise around six months after the bond-buying program closes, which markets view as sometime this fall.

Fed asset purchases aim to stimulate the economy by suppressing interest rates to send stocks rising in hopes investing and hiring follow suit.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Wal-Mart Stores, up 1.45%, Caterpillar, up 1.19%, and Johnson & Johnson, up 0.76%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Nike, down 5.12%, Merck, down 1.54%, and Goldman Sachs, down 1.34%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.41%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.17%, while Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.50%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.23%.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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