After Market: Jittery Investors Fear Putin Won't Take the Weekend Off


Stocks ended Friday in positive territory, though they gave up most of the day's gains in the afternoon as investors grew scared of the upcoming weekend. This has been the pattern on Fridays ever since Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea last month: Early gains dissipate as the weekend draws near. A lot of investors have been taking money off the table, just in case something happens before the market reopens Monday.

AP/Pavel GolovkinRussian soldiers stand near a tank at a former Ukrainian military base in Perevalne, outside Simferopol, Crimea, on Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 59 points; it had been up more than 160. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 8 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 4 points. But the Nasdaq was still down about 3 percent for the week.

Microsoft (MSFT) rose 2 percent Friday and Cisco (CSCO) gained 1.5 percent, helping all three major averages. And Tesla rose 2.5 percent after federal regulators closed an investigation into fires in the electric carmaker's batteries.

But some of the other momentum plays are suddenly out of favor. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Yelp (YELP) and Netflix (NFLX) continued to lose ground. Netflix has declined in 16 of the last 18 trading days.

Biotechs, too, continued to lose favor. The Nasdaq Biotech Index is now down 14 percent from the record high set about a month ago. Biogen (BIIB) lost another 5 percent, Gilead (GILD) and Regeneron (REGN) both lost 4 percent and Alnylam Pharmaceutical (ALNY) fell 5 percent.

Elsewhere, Blackberry (BBRY) lost 7 percent as quarterly sales declined. It's now down about 40 percent from a year ago, and there are growing doubts about the company's turnaround effort.

Red Hat (RHT) fell 7 percent. The open-source software company warns that earnings will fall short of Wall Street expectations.

The big California utility PG&E (PCG) fell 4 percent. The company expects criminal charges will be filed against it stemming from a 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people.

And Caesars Entertainment (CZR) fell 7.5 percent. It plans to sell new shares, which will dilute the value of existing shares.

Among the gainers, homebuilders Lennar (LEN), Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) and Ryland Group (RYL) all gained more than 2 percent. And Restoration Hardware (RH) nailed it, jumping 13 percent on an upbeat earnings outlook.

What to Watch Monday:
  • The Institute For Supply Management - Chicago releases its March survey of purchasing managers at 9:45 a.m.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas releases its March survey of Texas manufacturers at 10:45 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Chicago.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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You think that's something, just wait until the news comes out on how the Commodity Market is/has been controlled by certain players using high speed trading software able the do thousands of trades in milliseconds. Of course we will not be surprised who the players are.

March 29 2014 at 11:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Markets get jittery if the sun comes up. Markets strengthen if the day ends in "y". In short: no rhyme or reason for ups or downs (other than slick manipulating).

March 29 2014 at 6:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Hope

"You're darn tootin' -
We hate Vlad Putin."

March 29 2014 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Those that have'nt learned from history are doomed to repeat it.

March 28 2014 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If the Market is nervous about global instability, then it had better start taking Prozac! This is the new normal until Armaggedon!

March 28 2014 at 8:30 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to boowah's comment

Some thrive on instability if it pushes the price of oil or other investment up.

March 28 2014 at 10:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The cold war made it hard for the greedy to outsource jobs. After the cold war was over unrestricted trade benefited the 1%.

I had this conversation back in the late 90's with immigrants from that part of the world. Since that time the manufacturing jobs have gone off shore only confirming what we had expected.

March 28 2014 at 7:43 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Putin just called Obama to ask if he could borrow is "sticks" for the weekend. Obama said he would FedEx them to him !!

March 28 2014 at 7:09 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

That $27 billion proposed loan from the IMF to Ukraine will mostly go to satisfy that country's creditors, and to prop up the current illegitimate regime. If this deal should go through, Ukraine will essentially be owned lock, stock and barrel by the Western imperialist nations. It is thus imperative that President Putin move his forces into the rest of Ukraine now.

March 28 2014 at 7:06 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

For security reasons you can be sure the Internet and many of your tech devices would be turned off should this matter turn into a major war. Depending on what side the nations take could have ramifications for years and years.

March 28 2014 at 6:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I'm getting jittery, running short on the olives for my martini....

March 28 2014 at 6:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to k4jlp's comment

You can probably use Olive loaf if the shelves at the store are short on inventory.

March 28 2014 at 6:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply