December 19, 2014
Wall Street ends mixed, recovers from Ukraine driven slide
US stocks ended mixed, paring an earlier selloff sparked by reports of Ukraine shelling a Russian armored column.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was lifted by gains in stocks like Gilead and Microsoft.
The three major US stock indexes had opened higher on hopes of easing tensions between the two countries, but came under pressure when Ukraine, contradicting a report from Russia's Defense Ministry, said it had shelled a Russian armored column.
The CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street's fear barometer, shot up as much as 20.3 percent to a session high at 14.94. At the close, though, the VIX was up 5.9 percent at 13.15. Investors rushed to buy safe-haven bonds and the 10-year US Treasury note yield at one point dropped to 2.30 percent, its lowest level since June 2013.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.67 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 16,662.91. The S&P 500 dipped 0.12 of a point, or 0.01 percent, to end at 1,955.06. The Nasdaq Composite added 11.93 points, or 0.27 percent, to end at 4,464.93.
At one point during the selloff, the Dow briefly turned negative for the year when it touched a session low at 16,575.42. The S&P 500 fell as low as 1,941.50 while the Nasdaq touched an intraday low at 4,427.13.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.7 percent, the S&P 500 gained 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 2.2 percent.
In the latest snapshot of the economy, US manufacturing output rose broadly in July and automobile production recorded its largest increase in five years. Other data, however, showed some cooling in factory activity. US consumer sentiment fell in August to its lowest since last November, according to a preliminary reading from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan.
About 5.9 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the five-day average of 5.1 billion.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares fell 0.45 percent to close at 1,323.10, after trading 0.8 percent higher earlier in the session.
The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc advanced after news of the Ukraine event. The Swiss franc hit a 19-month high against the euro and a three-week peak versus the dollar. The yen reversed losses against the dollar, turning higher.
The dollar fell as much as 0.09 percent against the yen to 102.34 yen, after hitting its highest in more than a week. The dollar last traded at 0.9027 franc, down 0.4 percent.
The euro, meanwhile, tumbled versus the Swiss franc to its lowest since January 2013. It was last at 1.2093, down 0.19 percent.
Crude oil prices rose on the Ukraine news, after Brent had stabilized close to a 13-month low on ample supplies of high-quality oil and signs that faltering global economic growth may cap fuel demand.
October Brent crude rose $1.46 to settle at $103.53 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose $1.77 to settle at $97.35 a barrel.