U.S. stocks staged a mixed finish Friday, with the S&P 500 ending at another record, as investors tracked the standoff in Ukraine and after February's jobs report indicated the harsh winter could be the culprit behind recent weakness in economic data.
"The job market's in good shape, but there's not a lot of reaction, because that's pretty much what people were thinking before the report. What we've seen the last couple of months is the bond market reacting as though the underlying economy was weak, and the stock market was discounting weak economic data, so yields had fallen while stocks had moved higher. We all knew the views would reconcile," said Kate Warne, market strategist at Edward Jones.
Now, "the bond market is coming around to agreeing that this weakness we saw really really was due to the weather," Warne added of benchmark yields on Friday spiking to their highest since January.
Also "weighing on the market is the fact it's a Friday, and we've had a very nice run over the last couple of weeks, and world tensions, or the Ukraine situation, is still stirring, so to speak, so it's not surprising to see some people take profits," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.
Recent developments on Ukraine had Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissing a warning from President Barack Obama over Russia's move into Crimea, with Putin saying he could not overlook calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.
"The market is vulnerable to selloffs on any piece of news," Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., wrote in afternoon commentary. Selling was exacerbated by "news hit that Russia wants to get paid $2 billion that is owed to them by Ukraine for natural gas already delivered or supplies may be cut," said Spar of the Bloomberg News report.