U.S. stocks declined on Friday, with equities sliding into the loss column for the week, as investors tracked escalating tension in Ukraine, with the geopolitical strife overshadowing upbeat results from Microsoft.
"A large percentage of S&P 500 earnings comes from overseas; if Europe does less well, it would have an impact," said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors, referring to the potential implications of the geopolitical strife that on Friday had the United States and four European allies agreeing that Russia had not lived up to the terms of the Ukraine peace accord, with the White House vowing a coordinated response to "impose costs" on Russia.
"Going into the weekend, what could happen? So people are squaring up and going home without hanging it out there too far," Wren said.
Ford Motor fell after the auto manufacturer reported earnings below expectations; Amazon.com declined after forecasting a loss in the current quarter; Starbucks gained after its full-year outlook topped estimates, and Microsoft rose after tallying a quarterly profit that beat estimates.
Ukrainian forces reportedly killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels as Russian troops resumed military drills along that nation's border with Ukraine.
"If Russia plays hard ball and cuts off the supply of natural gas to Europe, prices would go up for consumers and hurt consumer spending, and make the price of doing business more expensive. If there is less discretionary spending and less economic growth in Europe, it would hurt the growth of our companies doing business in Europe," said Wren.
Russian stocks were slammed, including software company Yandex, down double digits.