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Worst day in a month for Dow, S&P as sentiment hit by crisis in Ukraine

U.S. stocks declined sharply on Monday, sliding along with other global equities, as worries about Russian intervention in the Ukraine has investors fleeing assets perceived as risky.

Ford Motor, General Motors and Toyota all reported U.S. sales fell in February, a month in which winter weather hit much of the country. Newmont Mining rose along with the price of gold.

Investors sought perceived safe havens on heightened concerns tensions involving Russia's threat to use military force in Ukraine, which mobilized its army and requested foreign observers. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Kiev Monday after saying Russia risked possible sanctions.

"Certainly this might go on for a couple days, but ultimately what matters for stock prices is earnings. This might cause some near-term turbulence, but there is no reason to think this is the end of the rally," Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG, told CNBC.

"The Crimean showdown has subsequently morphed investors' torment over demonstrations in Kiev to something on a potentially graver scale," Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers, wrote in an emailed note.

Wall Street's focus on the Ukraine had investors overlooking a rebound in U.S. factory activity in February from an eight-month low, while consumer spending increased more than estimated the prior month.

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After falling as much as 250 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 153.68 points, or 1 percent, to 16,168.03, with all 30 of its components finishing in the red.

After rallying to a record close on Friday, the S&P 500 on Monday fell 14.02 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,845.43, with technology pacing losses that extended to all 10 of its major sectors.

The Nasdaq lost 30.82 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,277.30.

For every stock rising, two fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where almost 696 million shares traded. Composite volume neared 3.4 billion.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose $28.70, or 2.2 percent, to $1,350.30 an ounce. Crude-oil futures for April delivery added $2.33, or 2.3 percent, to $104.92 a barrel.

The dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the 10-year Treasury yield fell 5 basis points to 2.602 percent.

After pegging a slew of recent economic data that disappointed as related to the weather, investors on Monday bypassed better-than-forecast economic reports.

The Institute for Supply Management reported on manufacturing activity in February, with the reading at a better-than-expected 53.2.

And, ahead of Wall Street's open, U.S. stock-index futures retained steep losses after figures from the Commerce Department had consumer spending rising more than projected in January, with household purchases up 0.4 percent after a minuscule 0.1 percent gain the prior month.

On Friday, U.S. stocks lost much of their gains, with the S&P 500 still managing a record close and equities posting a monthly gain.

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson

Coming Up This Week:

Tuesday

Earnings: AutoZone, Smith & Wesson, Bob Evans, Bank of Nova Scotia, Veeva Systems, ABM Industries, Insys Therapeutics

10:00 a.m.: Senate Banking confirmation hearing for Stanley Fischer for Fed vice chair and Lael Brainard as Fed governor

Wednesday

Earnings: Brown-Forman, Hovnanian, PetSmart, Canadian Solar, Envision Healthcare, Semtech, WuXi Pharma

8:15 a.m.: ADP employment

8:58 a.m.: Services PMI

10:00 a.m.: ISM nonmanufacturing

2:00 p.m.: Beige Book

Thursday

Earnings: Costco, Joy Global, Kroger, Staples, Cooper Cos, Fresh Market, H&R Block, Finisar, Ciena

Bank of England rates meeting

European Central Bank rate meeting

Monthly chain store sales

8:30 a.m.: Initial claims

8:30 a.m.: Productivity and costs

10:00 a.m.: Factory orders

Friday

Earnings: Foot Locker

8:30 a.m.: Employment report

8:30 a.m.: International trade

3:00 p.m.: Consumer credit

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