U.S. stocks fluctuate on Ukraine, M&A news; Dow rises 0.12%


Investing.com -

Investing.com - U.S. stocks moved up and down in choppy trading on Wednesday as investors digested events unfolding in Ukraine, while corporate news moved markets as well.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.12%, the S&P 500 index ended the session flat, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.05%.

The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was down 3.50% at 16.28.

Events in Europe pushed stocks down in earlier trading though they came back from earlier lows as investors focused less on fears and waited for more tangible news to indicate whether the conflict in Ukraine will escalate or ebb.

Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Russia was amassing more troops near its border with Ukraine, which rattled markets worldwide by stoking concerns an escalating conflict could dampen global recovery.

Since the West slapped sanctions on Moscow several days ago for allegedly meddling in Ukraine's affairs by supporting separatists, Russian troops along the border have reportedly jumped to 20,000 from 8,000.

Stocks also fell earlier on news Italy's economy shrank for a second consecutive quarter in the three months to June, which technically means the country is in recession.

ISTAT, Italy's statistical office, reported that the country's gross domestic product contracted by 0.2% in the second quarter, confounding expectations for growth of 0.2%.

Italy's economy shrank 0.1% in the preceding quarter.

Annualized GDP declined at a rate of 0.3%, worse than expectations for an increase of 0.1%.

Meanwhile in the U.S., official data revealed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly to a five-month low of $41.54 billion in June from $44.66 billion in May.

Analysts were expecting a $44.70 billion trade gap, and Wednesday's numbers drew applause in the trading day.

Mergers and acquisition news moved markets as well.

Mobile phone operator Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) reportedly ended talks to acquire T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS), while 21st Century Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) withdrew its unsolicited takeover bid for Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX).

Separately, drugstore chain Walgreen Co (NYSE:WAG) said it would not use its acquisition of Europe's Alliance Boots move its headquarters abroad.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), up 2.10%, Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), up 1.89%, and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), up 1.62%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), down 2.42%, AT&T Inc (NYSE:T), down 1.41%, and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), down 1.17%.

European indices, meanwhile, ended the day lower.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.77%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.61%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.65%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 0.69%.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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