After Market: Investors Pause to Assess the Ukraine Crisis


Investors took a breather Wednesday to assess what's happening along the Russia-Ukraine front, and to consider what might come next. After two days of wild swings propelled by news out of that volatile region, the market stayed within a narrow range on Wednesday.

The Fed's Beige Book report had little impact, primarily confirming what we already knew: The severe weather in January and February had a predictable impact on the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 35 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was little changed, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 6 points.

Financial stocks continued to move higher. Bank of America (BAC), which sponsors this report, gained 3 percent. Some analysts expect a big increase in the bank's dividend if regulators give the go-ahead over the next few days.

Morgan Stanley (MS) gained about 2 percent. Goldman Sachs (GS), J.P. Morgan (JPM) and Citigroup (C) all gained more than 1 percent.

The day's big winner was gun maker Smith & Wesson (SWHC). It shot up 16 percent as earnings topped expectations and the company raised its outlook as gun sales continue to increase. Rival Sturm Ruger (RGR) rode its coattails, rising 3 percent.

Brown-Forman (BF-A), best known for its Jack Daniel's whiskey, rose 3½ percent as it raised its outlook. And GameStop (GAME) gained nearly 4 percent after upping its dividend.

On the downside, Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell 3 percent on concern about its operations in Russia. Chevron (CVX) and BP (BP) both lost about 1 percent. Solar stocks lost power too. Canadian Solar (CSIQ) slid 10½ percent on an earnings miss and a weak forecast. That reflected poorly on Solar City (SCTY), which fell 3 percent. But those stocks have been huge winners over the longer term. Canadian Solar has soared more than 900 percent over the past year. Solar City is up more than 300 percent from a year ago.

Revlon (REV) fell 2 percent ahead of its after the bell earnings. Hovnanian (HOV) dropped 10 percent as its loss widened and the homebuilder's orders were below expectations. Bob Evans Farms (BOBE) lost 8 percent after badly missing earnings targets. And the biotech firm Xoma (XOMA) tumbled 28 percent. It issued a report questioning the efficacy of its treatment for osteoarthritis.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims and fourth-quarter productivity data.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates and the Commerce Department releases factory orders for January.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements. -Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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Buy ( BAC ) ( CALL ) & ( IRE )

March 18 2014 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dump verizon now

March 06 2014 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Putin is in over his bald head. Putin has never understood the modern global economy. Russia survives by selling oil and gas. It can't cut back as Russia is already stagnating with a plunging currency and on the edge of full blown recession. And then this little former commie apparatchik decides is a good time to spook global investors about the safety and sanity of the Russian government? Brilliant. That is his genius startegy. His country depends on oil and gas sales and their economy is in desperate need of foreign capital investment. And Vlad the infirm decides his two big threats are to cut the purchases of gas and "nationalize" assets of foreign firms. Yeah. OK genius. Putin is like a meth head whose big power play is to baricade himself in a house with a ton of explosives. The only way he can cause even a modicum of pain is via "shrapnel" wounds when Russia explodes. Of course, this is the same brainiac who decided to ally with with Syria, Iran and Hizbullah? Hey, nothing like those guys to say "invest in Russia." My best guess is Putin is out of office, one way or another, within 12 months. This is the exact move the Argentine Junta made when they invaded the Falklands. It was their last gasp. But this time we won't have to call the Royal Navy, the cold hand of the global markets will take out Russia without a shot being fired.

March 06 2014 at 12:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Even the Dogs .......the stocks that dont make earnings and have a balance sheet that would scare the hell out of a Freshman Business Major at Harvard .....have advanced at a pace that does not merit their share prices ............. the whole market ( screams very oversold ) and this on top of a Possible ........Putin ...... Quarterback Sneak , Screen Pass or faked punt ....... can take down this Wall Street house of cards ... in hours ...... many people will get caught in long positions .... and panic .... a major storm is brewing .........

March 05 2014 at 11:16 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

As of the excuse for weather.......enough! What next? Cosmic dust impacting employment and GDP numbers?

March 05 2014 at 7:56 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Send Ukraine another billion so the market can go up another 200 points. We defend ourselves by descriptions and tame the orld with money.

March 05 2014 at 5:24 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply