December 19, 2014
Wall Street loses ground on Ukraine worry; data curbs losses
US stocks edged lower after the latest tension between Ukraine and Russia snapped the focus of investors back to the volatile region, but US economic data helped curb losses.
Worries over tension abroad had largely receded from Wall Street, with major indexes seeing few negative days over the past two weeks, and the Dow and S&P both hitting record highs.
A trio of economic reports pointed to improving conditions and helped mitigate declines. The second reading of gross domestic product showed the US economy rebounded more strongly than initially thought in the second quarter, while jobless claims fell for a second straight week.
In addition, July pending home sales rose far more than had been expected to an 11-month high. The PHLX housing index lost 0.4 percent, but was off earlier lows.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.44 points or 0.25 percent, to 17,079.57, the S&P 500 lost 3.38 points or 0.17 percent, to 1,996.74 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.93 points or 0.26 percent, to 4,557.70.
Since falling to a near three-month low on Aug. 7, the benchmark S&P index had risen for 11 of the prior 14 sessions, pushing it above 2,000 for the previous two days. However, recent daily moves have been slight and trading volume has been among the lightest of the year.
Volume continued to be on the light side, with about 4.16 billion shares traded on US exchanges, well below the 5.34 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,735 to 1,265, while on the Nasdaq, declines beat advances 1,761 to 905.
European shares also fell today as tension rose in Ukraine. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.7 percent at 1,369.18 points. The benchmark index was down 0.45 percent before the comments were published.
Meanwhile, Tokyo stocks also fell as concerns about Japan's economic recovery pushed investors to the sidelines as they waited for a batch of key data tomorrow.
The Nikkei share average ended 0.5 percent lower to 15,459.86. The broader Topix declined 0.4 percent to 1,280.74, and JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.5 percent to 11,630.32.